Electronic Waste in India: Monitoring and Evaluating the Awareness Programme

Rapid growth in the electronics industry and high rates of obsolescence in electronic products generate large quantities of electronic waste (e-waste). In India, the recycling of this waste often takes place in the informal sector, where workers collect and recycle e-waste under inadequate conditions. This has a negative impact on the environment and human health. A lack of awareness about the environmental, social and economic risks of improper e-waste disposal plays a key role here. To reliably channel e-waste into appropriate recycling infrastructure and establish a system of Extended Producer Accountability, comprehensive awareness of the issue among all relevant stakeholders is required.

To this end, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched the ‘Awareness Programme on Environmental Hazards of Electronic Waste’ under the Digital India initiative. It aimed at raising awareness in Indian society and promote long-term, positive change related to the proper disposal of e-waste. The Indian ‘Manufacturers Association for Information Technology’ (MAIT) implemented the programme, which targeted a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Numerous activities took place throughout the subcontinent in 2018 and 2019. Specially trained experts, or ‘GreenE champions’, conducted workshops on the hazards and proper handling of e-waste. A website functions as a hub for information on all relevant topics, accompanied by a social-media campaign. Moreover, an online course was developed, which will be integrated into the school curriculum in the long run.

Together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) adelphi provided support for the MeitY awareness programme through a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process. Customised M&E activities reviewed all implementation steps so as to monitor the success of individual components and support the effectiveness of the project as a whole. Based on feedback from stakeholders and collected data, adelphi and the GIZ developed recommendations for the MeitY and the MAIT.