Environment: Control electronic waste in India

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Legislation that came into effect in India this month aims to deal with the environmental effects of electronic waste in the country. According to a government report, this waste stream has increased by a factor of more than five in seven years and is expected to exceed 800,000 tonnes in 2012.

However, the new law does not ban the dumping of toxic electronic waste from overseas, which contributes a further 50,000 tonnes. This is in violation of the 1992 Basel Convention, which restricts disposal and transboundary movements of hazardous waste, particularly from developed to developing countries.

India should follow China's example and stand firm against the dumping of electronic waste by the European Union and the United States, for example. It must tighten up enforcement of the Indian Supreme Court's 1997 blanket ban on the import and export of hazardous waste, in line with the Basel Convention.

To tackle India's domestic electronic waste, the new law stipulates that manufacturers must follow strict collection and recycling procedures, including a buy-back system (see go.nature.com/48fdyn). It is essential that these measures are rapidly implemented and then properly enforced by the state pollution-control boards.

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  1. Tajen University, Yanpu, Pingtung, Taiwan.

    • Govindasamy Agoramoorthy
  2. Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) University, Tamil Nadu, India.

    • Chiranjib Chakraborty

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