In some good news, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has announced that it will start a first-of-its-kind facility for door-to-door collection of e-waste from homes and offices that fall under its jurisdiction. The council will also pay money to people for their old gadgets such as refrigerators, laptops, mobile phones, printers and water coolers.

NDMC has initiated the tendering process and the facility is likely to begin in the next two months. The person or agency selected for the job will collect e-waste from NDMC’s offices, schools, hospitals and residential areas. The collector will have to share the details of goods collected so that NDMC can gather data on the amount of e-waste generated.

The project’s main objective is to ensure proper disposal of e-waste in Delhi since, as per a 2016 study by Toxics Link, around 90 per cent of Delhi’s residents don’t know how to dispose e-waste. Currently, 85,000 metric tonnes of e-waste are generated in Delhi-NCR annually. This is projected to go up to 150,000 metric tonnes by 2020. Most people have no idea how to dispose e-waste or about the ill-effects of discarding e-waste improperly. Electronic items often end up in illegal workshops, where metal is extracted using crude methods that release toxic by-products. These fumes and chemicals find they way into drains and water bodies. Most producers of electronic gadgets are also failing to collect e-waste, which is partly their responsibility as per the E-Waste Management Rules 2016.

Registered recyclers are being encouraged to participate in the tendering process. NDMC will also identify at least five collection centres at resident welfare associations’ or market associations’ offices, NDMC’s service centres, or parking lots for dropping off e-waste. In 2016, NDMC had set up five e-waste-collection centres in its areas.