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Even after a year, Bengaluru still awaits Centre’s promised e-waste recycling plant

Currently, Bengaluru has 11 licensed e-waste recyclers in the city and its periphery.
Over a year after it was promised to be ready, the first-ever government-run electronic waste (e-waste) recycling plant is far from seeing the light of day. 
The announcement for such a facility was made by the late central minister and Bengaluru South MP Anant Kumar in July 2018. Bengaluru, being the IT capital of India, was chosen to be the home for such a facility. 
The late minister had then said the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers was already working on it and it would be up and running within four months, and will be maintained by the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET). 
However, a top official of CIPET told TNM that land for the recycling plant is yet to be allotted. TNM could not reach DV Sadanada Gowda, Bengaluru North MP, who is now the Minister of Chemicals, for a comment on the same.
Sources in the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) also confirmed that the institute has not reached out to them for the mandatory licenses, which are essential to start such a facility.
While the government-run facility is yet to come up, the city already has multiple private e-waste processing centres. Currently, KSPCB officials say, there are 11 licensed e-waste recyclers in the city and its periphery. But subject matter experts say that India, particularly Bengaluru, does not have adequate e-waste recycling facilities. 
The CIPET-run proposed facility also does not feature in the yet-to-be commissioned list of e-waste recycling hubs. This is KSPCB’s list of the prospective plants in the city, which are yet to get the necessary clearances. 
E-waste includes discarded television sets, mobile phones, laptops, computers, refrigerators or any such equipment or parts. Unlike other forms of waste, toxic chemicals or heavy metal content in these wastes is higher and requires proper management to prevent immediate harm to human health and the environment.
India is one of the leading e-waste producers, generating 2 million tonnes of waste annually. And only 5% of this waste is recycled or processed scientifically. 
While local governments (municipalities/panchayats) are mandated to manage regular forms of solid waste, e-waste is supposed to be regulated by the central and state Pollution Control Boards.
Speaking to TNM, Randeep D, Special Commissioner for Solid Waste Management, BBMP, said, “While e-waste does not come under our ambit, we have tied up with the private recyclers and have put e-waste bins at all BBMP offices, including our headquarters at Corporation Circle.”
He added, “We need to maybe start a monthly collection drive so that we can create awareness and a common collection point for these recyclers.” 
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