The 11th edition of Asian Automotive Environmental Forum 2018 delved upon ways to minimise the environmental impact of end-of-life vehicles.

Story by: Gunjan D. Bidani

Tied to the theme, ‘Automotive Recycling in India: Pathway to the Future – Towards a Sustainable Society’, the 11th Asian Automotive Environmental Forum (AAEF) saw the stakeholders and leaders of the Indian automotive industry come together and delve upon the end-of-life journey of commercial vehicles, in an attempt to minimise the impact of such vehicles on the environment. SIAM, in collaboration with the Japan Automotive Recyclers Alliance (JARA), organised the event in India for the first time. Attracting more than 150 delegates from China, Japan, USA, India and other countries, the conference focussed on setting-up a viable infrastructure. The forum also looked at ways of developing solutions to handle End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs) in India together with experts from across the globe, and government representatives among other key stakeholders. The forum had participants share their experience and knowledge in the area of vehicle recycling.

Stressing upon the need to look at the process such that it amounts to conversion of waste to wealth, Sanjay Mehta, President, Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI), said that the rate of commercial vehicle recycling in India compared to the developed countries is less. Opined Mehta, “The recycling sector is highly unorganised and informal.”

In view of the need to promote scrappage and recycling of commercial vehicles, PK Banerjee, Executive Director (Tech), SIAM, explained how recycling is essential for building sustainable mobility in the future. “Vehicle Scrappage policy is underway,” he informed. Opining that there is a need to spread awareness about vehicle recycling concept amongst the masses, Banerjee urged the need for active participation by private companies in helping set up scrap yards in the country.

Deeming wastage of scrap as a wasted opportunity, Captain N S Mohan Ram, Advisor, TVS Motors & Chairman, SIAM Recycling Group, drew attention to how SIAM was acting upon the end-of-life journey of a vehicle. Captain Ram highlighted the challenges faced by the segment of the automotive industry to operate including inadequate space in crowded areas, poor storage for parts, technological handicap, lack of funds and mismatch of capacity.

Highlighting the fundamentals of a vehicle scrappage policy, Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, ARAI reiterated how the upcoming policy on scrappage of commercial vehicles will enhance the scope of ELV regulations, fleet modernisation schemes, encourage voluntary scrappage of vehicles, establish automated I&C centres and dismantling and disposal centres. Neeti Sarkar, CEO and Project Director, NATRIP, recommended the need to ensure a sufficient number of recycling centres across the country.

Japan Yu Jeong Soo (Ph D), Professor, Tohoku University, presented the scenario of automotive recycling in Japan, and how natural disasters often lead to an increase in damaged vehicles. Damaged vehicles are hard to be recycled and may cause secondary disasters, said Soo. He mentioned that the Government of Japan, with the help of JARA, not only recycled damaged vehicles but also conducted workshops. It also set up a recycling promotion centre. In terms of regulations, strict policies have been maintained on domestic recycling operators since 2017, informed Soo.

Interestingly, more than 50 per cent cars in Malaysia are older than ten years, informed Cho Chee Seng, General Manager, ECO-R, Malaysia. Stating that Malaysia too faced similar challenges like India for recycling ELVs, he averred, “Malaysia follows a 4R2S standard, which serves as guidelines for the aftermarket industry to process control for reuse, repair, recycle, or remanufacture of ELV parts or components.

Keeping in mind the increasing popularity of motoring involving old-used-CVs, Baatar Erdenedalai, Director, Mongolian Automotive Recyclers Association, pointed out that a large number of end-of-life vehicles will be generated in the near future. He mentioned that vehicle registration management and registration system are inadequate in Mongolia, and it is important therefore accurately to grasp the current situation of end-of-life vehicles.

To retain a significant value at the end of the life of a vehicle, David Nolan, Executive Director, Auto Recyclers Association of Australia, said that proper regulation should be enforced. Drawing attention to the submission of Australia’s industry report, Nolan apprised the gathering of how Australia faced problems of metal theft, illegal practices in recycling industry said to be linked to criminal networks.

Representing the United States of America, Sue Schauls, Executive Director, Iowa Auto Recyclers Association, said that self-audit can get one ahead of time given the the rules expected to rollout. “Self-governing will help you participate in the formation of recycling laws. All waste to have value to be reused or burnt,” she stated.

Providing a platform for automotive recycling industry stakeholders from the world over to share their views and knowledge on handling end-of-life commercial vehicles, the event turned out to be a grand success. In view of the situation in India, many experts opined that it was crucial to have an organised recycling structure in place. Speakers urged the Government to support the industry and ensure that issues related to recycling of end-of-life commercial vehicles in India are addressed with a sense of urgency.

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