The Environmental Ministry has reportedly issued a show cause notices to ecommerce websites for selling refurbished phones from overseas countries, in India.
Ecommerce biggies like Amazon, Snapdeal, Olx, eBay, and a dozen other sites have been served the notice. This is in violation of the Environmental Protection Act, which bars sales of imported refurbished phones in the country.
The order which was issued on September 22, 2016 states, “In case the ecommerce company fails to comply with the above directions from the date of issue of this direction, the ministry will be constrained to initiate proceedings against said company under provisions of Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act.”
Under Hazardous Waste Rules, the ministry’s permission is mandatory for import/export of any waste item — including electrical and electronic equipment — for reuse, recycling, recovery and utilisation. However, the ministry’s approvals have been limited to actual users — for repair or R&D purposes or for import by the defence and other ministries for strategic purposes.
It has never given permission for such imports for trading purposes. Also a proposal last year from Apple for import of used iPhones for sale in India was declined by the government on the grounds that it would increase electronic waste in the country.
The ecommerce websites’ response was awaited at the time of publishing this article.
Earlier in July 2016 the government said that rare animals and their body parts were being sold on various ecommerce sites. In a reply to Rajya Sabha, Environment Minister Anil Dave, said, “Several websites are seen advertising sale of rare animals and their parts.”
The response also mentioned a total of 106 websites, collated by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), that were allegedly involved in the trade of animals and their parts, including Snapdeal, Quikr, Olx, Ebay, Amazon and Alibaba.
The development was reported by Indian Express.