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Bajaj Foundation Inaugurated India's First Youth Eco Summit

The Bajaj Foundation-initiated Youth Eco Summit is endorsed by renowned entities such as the United Nations, Ministry of Electronics and IT, MoEF, TERI, TECNO Mobiles, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Arts

Bajaj Foundation Inaugurated India's First Youth Eco Summit
Actor Sonu Sood, along with Arijit Talapatra, CEO, TECNO Mobiles and Pankaj Bajaj, founder of Bajaj Foundation

Outlook Start-Up Desk

POSTED ON January 19, 2024 4:26 PM

The Bajaj Foundation inaugurated the first Youth Eco Summit at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. The summit, held under the theme of building awareness towards sustainable e-waste management, united over 200 Delhi-NCR schools, youth leaders, environmentalists, and policymakers against the escalating global challenge posed by e-waste.  

The initiative is endorsed by renowned entities such as the United Nations, Ministry of Electronics and IT, MoEF, TERI, TECNO Mobiles, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Arts.  

Addressing the global e-waste problem, Pankaj Bajaj, founder of the Bajaj Foundation, in his welcome speech, emphasised the importance of students in addressing the escalating global problem. He stated, "Bajaj Foundation has always been working towards humanitarian issues for many years, and now we are focusing on environmental aspects to protect the environment and create a better world. Students are the eco-warriors the world is waiting for to build a better tomorrow. Their innovative ideas and commitment are crucial for mitigating the global e-waste crisis and shaping a more sustainable future."  

Discussing the future prospects of the Youth Eco Summit, he remarked, "We are enthusiastic about building a brighter and more harmonious world, with an increasing number of youth participants participating each year to grow the summit. The remarkable response we have received this year is commendable, and we aspire to elevate it to a national level in the coming years." 

Speaking about the severity of the global e-waste problem, Darrin Farrant, director of the United Nations Information Centre, said that e-waste is a growing problem all around the globe and it is only getting worse. Piles of discarded computers, phones, televisions, and other technology are creating mountains of toxic waste. The UN is bringing countries, producers, and consumers together to try to beat back the tide of waste worldwide and make our use of electronics more sustainable. 

The key highlight of the summit was the presence of actor and humanitarian Sonu Sood, who also participated in a panel discussion, "One World, One Family: Community, Industry, Government,", along with Arijit Talapatra, CEO of TECNO Mobiles. The panel discussion hosted by Bajaj emphasised the importance of spreading conscious education and awareness for responsible e-waste management, besides accentuating the collaborative effort needed to achieve this. 

Talapatra stressed the collective responsibility of managing e-waste. He said, "We recognise the vital importance of supporting sustainability. We are glad to be able to connect with the young students and recognize that reaching out to the youth is a necessity, as they represent the future.”  

Another panel discussion on "Decoding E-Waste and Its Environmental Impact" moderated by Youth Environmentalist Abhiir Bhalla, featured key stakeholders such as Aashish Saurakhia, Director of Public Policy, India Cellular and Electronics Association, Dr. Suneel Pandey, Director of TERI, and Dr. Harveen Kaur, Government Advisory, and Nitin Pramod, Indian Foreign Service Officer, GOI. 

The discussion highlighted the significance of robust regulations like Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) in tackling the e-waste challenge. By incentivising manufacturers to take accountability for the entire lifecycle of electronic products, EPR creates a closed-loop system that minimizes environmental impact. 

India, as the world's third-largest producer of e-waste, faces a critical challenge with electronic waste surging from 700,000 tonnes in FY18 to 1.6 million tonnes in FY22.

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