The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), spread across six zones, generates around 1,000 to 2,200 tonnes of e-waste annually. Of this, 400 tonnes is procured and only 13 per cent is recycled. The remaining e-waste is not disposed of properly, resulting in health hazards. This e-waste includes scrapped electrical and electronic equipment and other devices. Conventional methods of waste management such as collection and segregation of waste by rag pickers are not quite efficient. To this end, AMC, in 2013, announced a project for e-waste collection and recycling. But it did not materialise.
Later, in 2016, after the announcement of the new e-waste management rule, AMC awarded the project to a private contractor – ECS Environment Private Limited. The contract was awarded on a public-private partnership basis and involved developing a mobile application for collection and recycling of e–waste for a period of 20 years.
In April 2017, AMC, in association with ECS Environment Private Limited, launched the mobile application called ECS e-Waste. The application aims to eliminate environmental hazards by efficiently disposing of e-waste. It works in a way wherein citizens can contact the representatives and the equipment gets collected from the door step. For this, AMC has launched collection vans and set up e-waste collection centres in six zones: Viratnagar (East), Usmanpura and Law Garden (West), MEMCO (North), Maninagar (South), Danapith and Relief Road (Central) and Bodakdev (New West).
The application provides numerous facilities to citizens, institutions, organisations, industries and departments, among others. These include:
- Getting quotes for the material to be disposed of through its “Add Post” platform. Under this, a user can choose the type of product to be sold with its sub-category. Besides, photos can be uploaded.
- Another platform called “My Post” provides the status of all previously added posts through a unique post identification number.
- It also provides a pickup facility for e-waste. For this, the users can provide their address or can alternatively choose to drop the item at a particular collection point or in the drop off bins.
- The application creates an interface between the representatives and the stakeholders for making queries and negotiating the prices.
- Another unique feature of the application is that it provides the option of choosing the mode of payment. Under this, three options are provided – cash on delivery, ECS vouchers and other vouchers.
- The platform provides convenience for e-waste disposal as the waste can be sold by simply clicking and posting pictures.
- It provides direct interface with the representatives as one can contact AMC using the e-waste disposal app and give them time to collect it from the doorstep.
- As evaluation of the product is done by a technical expert, users can get an honest feedback about the product, leading to customer satisfaction.
- The application enables environment friendly disposal of e-waste as it promotes recycling. The disposed of gadget will be sent to the ECS facility for refurbishment and will be resold to interested persons.
- The financial incentives promised in lieu of the waste drive the residents to take up e-waste management on a regular basis.
- One of the biggest benefits is that through the application, the e-waste gets collected and is not merged with domestic solid waste preventing health hazards.
The way ahead
As e-waste management is of utmost priority, other ULBs can follow in the footsteps of AMC. Besides taking up initiatives, there is pressing need on part of residents to be conscious users of electronic items. To this end, wider usage of the application has to be ensured. Further, a structured and organised manner of disposal has to be followed. The government can also play a more proactive role in ensuring that e-waste is dismantled and recycled under proper international guidelines. For this, adequate safety gears can be provided to those dealing with e-waste. Proper allocation of industrial space or sheds for disposing e-waste in industrial parks can also help in managing waste. For the environmental posterity and the interest of the citizens at large, stringent rules for environment pollution must be in place.