The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had notified the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as "E-Waste Rules") on March 23, 2016 and were made effective on October 1, 2016. The E-Waste Rules seek to regulate persons and/or entities which are involved in the manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, collection, storage and processing of e-waste, i.e., electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part discarded as waste or rejects from manufacturing, refurbishment and repair processes. The E-Waste Rules are applicable on manufacturers, producers, consumers, bulk consumers, collection centres, dealers, e-retailer, refurbishes, dismantlers and recyclers of e- wastes. A summary of the important provisions of the E-Waste Rules, 2016 are available on our website here. This present article seeks to discuss the responsibility of importers of e-wastes.
Importers under E-Waste Rules
The term "Importer" has not been defined under the E-Waste Rules, however, the term comes under the ambit of the definition of Producer1 as the definition of Producer includes a person who offers to sell imported electrical and electronic equipment and their components or consumables or parts or spares.
Extended Producer Responsibility
Extended Producer Responsibility (hereinafter referred to as "EPR") means the responsibility of producers and importers of electrical or electronic equipment, for channelization of e-waste to ensure environmentally sound management of such waste. The E-Waste Rules, 2016 state that the import of electrical and electronic equipment is allowed only to producers having EPR authorization2, i.e., a permission given by Central Pollution Control Board ("CPCB") to a producer or importer, for managing EPR with implementation plans and targets outlined in such authorization including detail of Producer Responsibility Organization, i.e., a professional organization responsible for collection and channelization of e-waste generated to ensure environmentally sound management of such e-waste. Therefore, while submitting an application for EPR Authorization to the CPCB, the importers have to submit a plan known as Extended Producer Responsibility Plan providing details of e-waste channelization system for targeted collection including detail of Producer Responsibility Organization.
Other responsibilities of importers under the E-Waste Rules include, without limitation to, maintenance of records of e-waste handled, in format prescribed in the E-Waste Rules and making such records available for scrutiny by the CPCB or the concerned State Pollution Control Board, submitting records in formats as prescribed in the E-Waste Rules.
Liability of importers
Importers of e-waste shall be liable for all damages caused to the environment or third party due to improper handling and management of the e-waste and shall also be liable to pay financial penalties for any violation of the provisions of the E-Waste Rules, 2016.3
1 Section 3 (cc) of the E-Waste Rules
2 Section 5(3) of the E-Waste Rules
3 Section 21 of the E-Waste Rules, 2016
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