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Ragpickers to help collect city’s e-waste

With e-waste from households and small offices posing threats to the soil and health of the city, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) is planning to involve rag-pickers and kabadiwallahs for their proper disposal.


At present, four agencies authorised by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are responsible for the disposal of e-waste which they collect in bulk from big organisations. A huge chunk of e-waste is however generated in small offices and even at homes that are discarded alongside normal garbage or sold to kabadiwallahs.


Considering the dangers arising in the system, the committee is in talks with the ragpickers and kabadiwallah associations to use rag-pickers to collect e-waste and give it to the disposal agencies. In return, the ragpickers will be able to sell electronic wastes legitimately and will be provided with safety devices so that they do not get contaminated, a clause that is not present under the current set up.


The DPCC has collaborated with Chintan, an NGO for the project. The collaboration has been done in view of the new e-waste (Management and Handling) rules that will be implemented in May 2012. Under the new law, any informal collection of e-waste will be considered illegal and so many ragpickers and kabadiwallahs will lose their jobs. Hence to formalise the system, the DPCC and Chintan are building up groups of ragpickers and kabadiwallahs.


Bharti Chaturvedi, director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, says that it is a “win-win” situation. “Instead of taking away the jobs of the unorganised ragpickers, the new system will in fact organise them and lead to better collection and disposal of e-wastes,” she said.


The project will be implemented whenever the DPCC gives it a go ahead.


E-waste includes discarded mobile phones, old batteries and CFL bulbs etc. If not disposed properly, they find their way to landfills leading to leakage of heavy metals and radio active substances that cause ground water contamination.


Source: Hindustan Times

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