India has emerged as the second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers, but also the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world. As per rough estimates, about 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste is generated every year in the country with telecom equipment accounting for as much as 12 per cent of this.
This has come out after a recent joint study done by The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) and the professional service company KPMG.
Nearly 25 per cent of the 100 crore mobile phones in circulation in the country end up in e-waste annually. The phased manner for implementation of e-waste collection targets is the need of the hour.
“The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) should issue guidelines with respect to locations of mobile towers and ensure that clearance requirements be adopted across states to smoothen tower set up process,” says the study.
The study was released by P.Balaji, chairman, ASSOCHAM National council on Telecommunications, who is also the Director-Regulatory, External Affairs & CSR, Vodafone-India. “The telecommunication Industry is committed to realize the Government Vision of Digital India. In the last 15 months alone operators have invested over 30% of the cumulative investment made in 20 years prior. Over 100 million handsets have been manufactured last year,” he said while releasing the study.
A quick resolution on issues that will facilitate ease of doing business will accelerate achieving the Digital India Vision. “We are confident that the Government which has set a fast pace of policy formulation and execution will support this endeavor,” added Balaji.
The un-organised sector in India is estimated to handle around 95 per cent of the e-waste produced in the country. Given the huge user base and vast reach of telecom in India, it is practically difficult and expensive for the handset manufacturers to achieve the targets prescribed in the rules from the first year itself.