While PCMC, PMC and MSEDCL are going strong on LED bulbs to save power, all are blissfully unaware of MPCB rules when it comes to their hazards and disposal
It could be viewed as a fresh wave of hope when administrations under take sweeping eco-friendly meas ures -Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), for example, has installed up to 2,000 energy-friendly Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs at ward and zonal offices, the main building and departments, like garden and veterinary, to save on power bills. Across town, as per National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency Policy, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) began replacing conventional yellow sodium streetlights with LEDs since 2010-11 and has installed 48,000 such lights till date.However, despite this war-footing green strategy, the effort doesn’t seem to be going the whole mile -neither civic body has a clue about how to properly dispose of LEDs, of importance since they contain a high level of lead and other contaminants, posing major dangers to the environment. However, officials are blissfully unaware that LEDs need to be disposed of through registered recycling agencies.
This is despite the fact that the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has a plan in place. Nandkumar Gurav, technical regional officer of MPCB, said, “LEDs have high lead content and we do not have a separate policy for them. However, they are to be strictly disposed of under existing Hazardous Waste Rules, 2008, and E Waste Rules, 2011. MPCB gives permission to industrial units to reprocess hazardous waste and recycle e-waste.All consumers, bulk or individual, need to send segregated e-waste to registered recycling facilities, which dispose of waste scientifically as per our policies.“
Pravin Tupe, city engineer of electricity, PCMC, said, “We will be installing 6,000 LEDs at all streets in two months, which will save us Rs 6 crore a year.“ However, Sanjay Kulkarni, environment engineer at PCMC, said, “The LEDs used by us on our streets and at our offices are stored once their lifetime ends. At the end of the year, we conduct auctions and sell them to scrap dealers.“
He was unaware that they need to be given to authorised agencies to reprocess as hazardous waste.
PMC has spent a whopping Rs 45 crore on the aforementioned initiative.In the next phase, 35,000 more LED bulbs are to be deployed, requiring around Rs 35 crore in funding. Manisha Shekatkar, executive engineer, PMC electrical department, reasoned, “The life of the LED bulb is almost 10 years. Since we started installing them in 2010, their disposal has not been faced yet. However, MPCB has given us directives and we are yet to set up mechanisms accordingly. Moreover, we are also going to speak with the national Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) about environmental concerns around LED lightbulbs.“ Interestingly, even the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited (MSEDCL) has a programme to distribute LEDs for Rs 10.“We have sold 28,00,000 bulbs across Pune district since the scheme was launched in November 2015,“ said Dipak Kokate, manager of Energy Efficiency Services Limited. Shockingly, MSEDCL officials say disposal is not their problem. Public relations officer Nishikant Raut said, “We sold those bulbs under the scheme to popularise LEDs because they save energy. Their disposal is not our responsibility.“
Consumers are just as confused.“LEDs save 40-50 per cent of electricity bills and last from 2-10 years. Many consumers opt for them. However, we are confused about whom to hand them over to, as we are aware that they can harm the environment. With no option in sight, they are just thrown with the garbage,“ said Santosh Maskar, a resident of Pimple Saudagar.
MPCB officer J S Salunke said the board does not conduct awareness programmes; he also had no clue about how many recycling units or industries have permission to deal with LEDs.
Environment activist Dr Deepak Shikrapur shared, “Civic bodies urgently need to create awareness about e-waste segregation. Citizens simply hand over e-waste -including LEDs -to scrap dealers, who in turn sell it to mafias. These then dispose of e-waste in Delhi-Noida, in three ways -burning, melting with acid, or in landfills.“
Source : Mirror