Not taking responsibility for mercury-bearing waste criticised

Toxics Links claims that many international lighting companies are opposed to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle of E-waste Rules 2016

GN Bureau | September 19, 2016

#Mercury-bearing waste   #Toxics Links   #Extended Producer Responsibility  

Many international lighting companies have refused to accept any responsibility for the management of mercury-bearing waste mandated under the new E-waste Rules, 2016. However, the same companies for long have been fulfilling their commitments under the “Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment” (WEEE) directive of the European Union(EU), and are responsible for the end of life management of mercury bearing lamps in all the member states of the EU, says a press note issued on Monday by Toxics Links.

The note said: “It is ironical that they refuse to abide by similar rules in India.”

 “These companies are opposing the EPR principle in the new E-waste Rules in India by challenging it in the court, which is in stark contrast to their actions in Europe. This exposes their double standards and reflects that these international companies have very little consideration for the adverse impacts of mercury on health of Indian citizens,” says Satish Sinha, associate director, Toxics Link.

The new E-waste Rules were notified in 2016 after sustained efforts of organisation’s like Toxics Link and others to include fluorescent and other mercury bearing lamps in the Rules. Even the National Green Tribunal in its order dated July 7, 2015, has instructed for the adoption of EPR for management of mercury- bearing lights. This is a significant move towards meeting India’s global commitment to reduce adverse impacts of mercury emissions and protect human health and environment.

“It is unfortunate that these international companies are opposing EPR in India. India is one of the biggest lighting markets of the world, perhaps larger than Europe. These companies have the experience of collecting and recycling mercury-bearing lights in an environmentally sound manner, which they have been doing in Europe for a long time. Instead of opposing the rules, they should come forward and set an example by setting up systems in India. This will not only help protect the environment, but will also create green jobs in the country,” said Ravi Agarwal, director, Toxics Link.




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