The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex national body representing the Indian automobile sector, in collaboration with Japan Automotive Recyclers Alliance (JARA), today organised its 11th Asian Automotive Environmental Forum (AAEF) in New Delhi.
The 11th AAEF event, organised in India for the first time, was on the overall theme of 'Automotive Recycling in India: Pathway to the Future - Towards a Sustainable Society'. The conference focussed on setting up of a viable recycling infrastructure and providing solutions for handling end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) in India.
The conference saw participation from over 150 delegates from China, Japan, USA, India and other countries including representatives from government departments and key stakeholders, who shared their experience in establishing vehicle recycling infrastructure, ELVs and the learnings for India.
The participants urged to proactively involve and help reduce dependence on single technology, while also looking at the various forms of automotive recycling used globally to take on the growing need for recycling ELVs on the back of the rapid growth in India's vehicle parc. The speakers urged the government to ensure that issues related to vehicle recycling in India are addressed and adequate policy roadmap is put in place.
Welcoming the delegates, Yu Jeong Soo Ph.D, professor, Tohoku University, said responsible recycling and sustainable development are crucial for automakers and there is an urgent need to create a viable infrastructure and provide solutions for dealing with end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) in India.
Sujeet Samaddar, senior consultant, NITI Aayog, pointed out that the ground reality for recycling vehicles was not so good in India and needs immediate redressal. He urged that there needs to be a focus on the automotive recycling industry, as it needs to grow at the same speed as the Indian automobile industry. The kind of vehicles recycled now will be unique to India in terms of recycling capabilities, he added.
Samaddar clarified that India now ranks 77th globally in the Ease of Doing Business ranking, which should encourage global companies to set up advanced automotive recycling plants in the country. “This will also set the tone for investments. The demand driver is very clear. Automobile recycling will not only ensure a strong economic growth, but also create a large social impact and offer immense opportunity for rationally putting in effective interventions for recycling end-of-life vehicle (ELV) in India.”
Captain N S Mohan Ram, advisor, TVS Motor Co and chairman, SIAM Recycling Group, stressed the need to evolve an environmentally feasible, socially acceptable and economically viable regime for recycling of ELVs. “We are the fastest growing economy in the world and have a huge consumer base and demand for mobility, both for personal and public use. However, lack of ELV recycling procedures and infrastructure makes it a big mismatch, as we are one of the world biggest manufacturers of vehicles.”
He appreciated the role of SIAM’s recycling task force group, which participates in international conferences to collect data and supports actions to set up world-class recycling infrastructure in India.
Scrappage policy coming soon
Rashmi Urdhwareshe, director, ARAI, spoke about the central government’s vehicle scrappage policy, which is expected soon. The policy will also have fleet modernisation schemes and aim at encouraging voluntary scraping of old vehicles. “The government initiatives and the upcoming policy on scrapping of vehicles will enhance the scope of ELV regulations, fleet modernisation, vehicles nearing their end life, and dismantling centres to be located and controlled in a structured manner.”
Neeti Sarkar, CEO and project director, NATRIP, expressed her concern over scrapping of vehicles in India that is largely managed in unorganised sector. This results in weak reporting of data of scrapped vehicles. In this regard, she recommended establishing of sufficient number of ‘Recycling Centres’ across the country that would ensure robust network between agencies and organisations involved in collecting, dismantling and disposing ELV wastes.
The conference also offered an opportunity for participants to interact with global experts on the subject of automotive recycling and other related sectors. The event also provided a window to showcase organisation’s products and services to the automotive recycling sector.
Commending the role of Indian automotive recycling industry, Sanjay Mehta, president, Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) said that India doesn’t have specific recycling zones whereas other developed countries have special zones. He added that MRAI would spread awareness for recycling by organising public programmes at different levels. “Our vision is to make India a zero-waste country by developing the Circular Economy Parks. The metal recycling industry in India employs nearly 1.9 million people and has the potential to contribute around 5 percent to the country’s GDP.”
Sosho Kitajima, managing director, NPO JARA, spoke on the increasing number of vehicles in India, the means to ensure and contribute to sustainable development in India and all automotive recyclers through the forum. “The AAEF will become a big platform for relevant Industry bodies across Asia to exchange the latest vehicle disposal techniques and build a sustainable future.”
David Nolan, executive-director, Auto Recyclers Association of Australia, shared the Australian industry report, and concerns that the country faced including problems of metal theft and illegal practices in recycling industry linked with criminal networks. “India must also regulate this sector by putting in place enforceable laws and enforcement resources," he pointed out.
Sue Schauls, executive-director, IOWA Auto Recyclers Association while submitting her report on United States said self-audit can help one ahead of the rules to come. “Self-governing will help you participate in formation of recycling laws. All waste too have a value that can be reused or burnt.”
Cho Chee Seng, general manager, ECO-R, Malaysia while submitting Malaysia’s industry report stated that Malaysia too faces similar challenges like India for recycling ELVs. He revealed that “almost 85 percent of the local used parts in automotive sector in Malaysia are unusable for reuse.”
In his closing remarks, P K Banerjee, executive-director (Tech), SIAM said, “The E of Evolution and Engineering is important, right from product engineering to process engineering while dismantling for ELV. India needs to evolve, as recycling is the central theme of sustainable life.”