Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank Group, organised the first stakeholder workshop today for the Clean e-Bhubaneswar Project, bringing together government, private sectors and the academia to deliberate on strategic solutions for making Bhubaneswar e-waste free.
The project aims at developing a sustainable model for e-waste management in the city with the goal of establishing a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the local government entities, including BMC, State Pollution Control Board, IT Department and the private sector to address e-waste management challenges.
The Clean e-Bhubaneswar Project is a part of the IFC-European Union Eco-Cities Programme. The Eco-Cities India is a multi-year climate-change focused programme aligned with Government of India’s Smart Cities initiative as it is structured around designated ‘Smart Cities’ – Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune. The long-term objective is to help India meet its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mobilizing private sector finance through a combination of established and innovative interventions designed for the Indian market.
The implementation of the project is being undertaken by the consortium of Sofies Sustainability Leaders Pvt. Ltd. and city-based Siddha Development Research and Consultancy. This consortium will focus on establishing an effective e-waste collection system in the city to ensure proper channelization of e-waste, generating awareness and developing a sustainable e-waste ecosystem in the city. It would also address another important aspect of integrating the informal sector by creating appropriate linkages with formal e-waste supply chain, leading to a profitable business value proposition in local recycling and processing of e-waste.
The workshop was organized at the Infosys Campus at Info City, Patia, to launch city-wide collection and awareness campaigns under the Clean e-Bhubaneswar Project. The program will partner with public and private partners in Bhubaneswar to support their efforts for meeting their e-waste management responsibilities. The workshop highlighted the hazards of e-waste, methods of proper recycling, and opportunities in terms of resource extraction, and the pressing need for appropriate e-waste management and potential options that may be implemented.
Dr A.K.Gupta Joint Director, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India spoke about the future burden of e-waste and how a collective effort could make us eradicate that mess if we plan properly and scientifically.
Dr. D.K. Behera, Senior Environmental Scientist, State Pollution Control Board, Odisha, gave the audience an insightful presentation and explanation of the E-waste Management Rules, 2016 and the possible health hazards likely to be created in future.
Additionally, roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, especially, in the context of the rules were discussed. The workshop also hosted discussions on compliance processes for bulk consumers, integration of the large body of informal sector workers, who currently work in very difficult conditions, into the formal sector and business opportunities arising out of this.
BMC Zonal Deputy Commissioner (North) Subhranshu Mishra in his brief speech spoke about the requirement of a scientific collection and dismantling of the e-waste and how we are going to face the challenge in growing urban centres like Bhubaneswar.
“The Clean e-Bhubaneswar Project is a unique opportunity that galvanizes support from the city and state government bodies, and proves a working model for e-waste management in cities. The momentum created by the recently launched E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 has given us a strategic window of opportunity to lay the foundations for a long-term solution for responsible e-waste management in Bhubaneswar,” said Ronojoy Sircar, IFC.
Biswajit Nayak, Facility Head, Infosys also spoke and elaborated how as a responsible corporate the IT major has taken steps to make their campuses sustainable with adoption of various recycling methods. However, he added that the e-waste management has to be managed with utmost caution as the toxic elements are associated with them. IFC international consultant Dr. Bernd Kopacek and Viraj Desai from IFC were also present.
Bhubaneswar has witnessed a significant surge in consumption of electronic gadgets and electrical appliances in the past decade and the trend is only expected to grow. However, a lack of efficient and adequate recycling infrastructure has presented a tough challenge as currently the e-waste gets recycled by dangerous and unscientific techniques such as open burning of cables that results in cancerous fumes and acid leaching leading to soil and ground water pollution.
The workshop spread awareness on the official Clean E-Bhubaneswar Project website and toll-free number. Companies and residents can visit the Clean E-Bhubaneswar initiative website http://www.cleanebhubaneswar.in/ or call the toll-free number 1800-120-2723 to request a free pickup of e-waste.
With a toll-free number now available, BMC is encouraging citizens, small and large companies as well as government institutions to use this convenient channel to ensure that household and institutional e-waste is disposed of properly. Bulk consumers that generate larger quantities of e-waste can also call to request for free support and advice in setting up their e-waste management processes.