How many types of mobile chargers are out there? Well, I know some. Lightning, USB-Type C, Standard USB, Wireless Pads, Pin Based and a few others as well. These essential accessories, which are as per the specific phone model constitute an awful amount of E-waste. Why can’t we have a standard size mobile phone charger?

The European Union had started working on this from 2009 itself. However, the 2009 agreement with mobile phone manufacturers expired in 2014, and now we are in the situation that we are in. Accordingly, the EU is again trying for a common mobile phone charger, but the proposal is yet to effect any change. Interestingly, mobile phone chargers are estimated to amount 51,000 metric tons of e-waste, each year, in the European Union alone. 

In India, E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 mandate a take-back mechanism by the manufacturers, but the same exists mainly on paper. In this scenario, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut asked: “whether Government is considering to instruct phone makers to produce a common/universal charger for all mobile and portable devices to avoid environmental concerns/waste as well as for the benefit of consumers?” In reply, the Union Minister said: “The government of India is not considering to instruct phone makers to produce a common/universal charger for all mobile and portable devices.”

This rather seems to be the better way. Mandating common fixed standards may cause hindrance to innovation. At the same time, E-Waste must be managed well. The Rules though framed, are barely implemented. To prevent digital rot, the Government of India needs to pick up its socks and get into action. The sooner, the better. 

   

   

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