Government lacks laws to address e-waste woes

Kathmandu, January 19

The quantity of electronic waste is steadily increasing and has emerged as one of the most significant forms of waste, according to Department of Environment.

“The growth of e-waste has significant social, environment and economic impacts. The increase in consumption of electrical and electronic products and higher obsolescence rate has led to increased generation of e-waste,” reads the 2017 report published by DoE.

The findings show that household sector produced 15857.98 tonnes of e-waste, the highest quantity compared to all other sectors. Similarly, retailers and dealers, repair shops and scrap dealers also contribute to generation of e-waste.

“Import from India, China and third countries is steadily on the rise which signifies that  consumerism has developed in Nepal. Based on imports and use of electric and electronic equipment, the e-waste inventory based on increasing obsolescence rate in Kathmandu for the year 2017 has been estimated to be 17730.44 tonnes. Scrap dealers are found to be the last component in the value chain,” it says.

As per the report, all the unused items ultimately reach the dealers in scrap value where a limited facility of segregation and recycling is available. Therefore, the collected waste is transported to India for extraction of useful/precious elements and recycling.

Although the constitution ensures the right of people to live in pollution free and clean environment, due to the lack of rules and regulations regarding the import/export of e-waste, termed under the hazardous waste by various directives worldwide, the basic rights have not addressed.

The increasing market penetration rate in developing countries, replacement market in developed countries and the high obsolescence rates make e-waste one of the fastest growing waste stream. It is much more expensive in the developed countries to recycle or dispose e-waste, as there are many more environmental regulations to follow.