E-Waste: A Looming Crisis!

Pune has now become one of leading generators of E-waste in India and it’s management requires an utmost priority 

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The progress in science and technology has improved our lives in many ways and electronic sector has dominated our daily routine since few decades. TV, mobiles, laptops, washing machine and many more electric gadgets are transforming rapidly due to change in technology.

People’s increasing demands and the adaption of changing lifestyle is one of the reason for the rapid out-dating of many electronic products. Similarly, we have many household electronic things for personal, professional and social purposes such as radio, chargers, compact discs and so on, which are currently not in use or are dysfunctional. Such segments of unused and outdated electronic products are termed as “Electronic Waste” or “E-Waste”.

Global Scenario

The global generation is about 20-50 MT (million tonnes) every year and the scenario of e-waste is increasing by the rate of 5% to 10% a year. While we are busy in changing our needs and demands, our surrounding is constantly questioning us; one of the most important is “ARE WE AWARE OF INCREASING E-WASTE AND ITS EFFECTS ON BIOLOGICAL SPECIES??”

The question still remains unanswered, because only 12.5% of global E-waste gets recycled due to lack of appropriate knowledge and techniques in E-waste management. Meanwhile, automobile industry is expanding rapidly and need for electronic equipments is increasing. The increasing rate of E-waste is high enough to degrade our human health in the coming few years.

E-Waste Management in major Indian Cities

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimated that India’s           E-waste generation is more than 8 lakh tonnes or 0.8MT per year, while only 2.5% of the total E-waste gets recycled every year. There are total 10 states that contribute to 70% of the total E-waste generated in the country and there are 4 major cities of which Mumbai is the leading generator. Let’s have a look at these major cities and their perspective in E-waste management:

  • Mumbai: Over the years Mumbai has developed rapidly and so have its waste management problems. The annual E-waste generation in Mumbai is near to 13,000 tones. Yes, this small sized city’s E-waste generation makes your mind wobble for a while. Since 2010, Mumbai has started recycling the E-waste and each year the recycling rate of the city is rising at a good amount.
  • Delhi: The amount of E-waste generated in the capital city of India is about 12000 tonnes/year. But this heart of the country has already started taking care of its future by dismantling and disposing the E-waste in a proper manner. The illegal dumping activities of E-waste are decreasing in Delhi due to the government’s strict rule of managing E-waste without harming any species and resources. Delhi contributes to the thriving E-waste recycling business is because of its connectivity to many parts of the country.
  • Bangalore: The well known IT hub of India is connected to Delhi and Mumbai for E-waste recycling process. According to surveys, Bangalore generates around 8,000-10,000 tonnes of e-waste per year. The major producers of E-waste are IT firms and electronic manufacturers. There are many commercial E-waste recycling centers in Bangalore because of which the city has very well balanced rate of E-waste generation and recycling. The way of segregation and dismantling is really good in the city and hence there is a rising of commercial sector in E-waste management.
  • Kolkata: The major generator of E-waste from eastern part of the country is Kolkata. The annual generation of E-waste in Kolkata is 9,000 tonnes and the number is increasing from past few years. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has launched a drive to set up collection mechanism for E-waste in the city of Kolkata. Due to set up of this collection mechanism, the recycling rate of E-waste is increasing every year.

Generation and Recycling of E-waste in Pune

We have seen the statistics of other states in our country, now let’s have a look at our home, Pune City. The set up of several manufacturing units in Pune has increased the city’s E-waste generation. Pune generates about 4500 tonnes of E-waste every year. According to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), there were only 3 E-waste recycling centers in Pune, but the current situation has changed because of awareness about E-waste management in the city.  There is now a trend of emerging commercial E-waste recycling companies. The skill development in segregation and dismantling of E-waste is increasing due to the imposing of government rules in E-waste management. Pune city is the emerging sector of economic investment, on the other hand there is a lot of migration from different parts of Maharashtra and hence the E-waste generation is increasing day by day.

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Effects on Human Health and Environment

Looking back at our progress in technology, we have left a trail of poor environmental awareness. This trail of careless events is not only hazardous to the nature but it is an upcoming danger towards human life. Electronic product consists of numerous harmful metals which are directly interfering in our food chain because of improper disposal. Exposure and consumption of metals like cadmium, mercury, arsenic, chromium, copper, etc. are responsible for diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer; they also create damage to various parts of human body.

Few electronic equipments like X-ray machine consists of radioactive material, as only physical exposure to such machines for longer time can causes diseases like skin cancer. Inappropriate landfilling can cause the penetration of harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater sources. Alteration of soil with chemicals from E-waste is hazardous for plant growth. The results of such alteration are a major threat to agriculture around the globe. Similarly, this chemical interference also makes groundwater undrinkable and unusable for people. Progression without awareness and implementation without knowledge is creating major health problems as the threat of E-waste is growing globally.

Recycling of E-waste

Recycling of E-waste without the knowledge of electronics can lead to the loss of many reusable materials. The current trend of E-waste collection is done by informal and formal sectors. Informal sectors include the people collecting trash with an inappropriate knowledge of electronics while the formal sectors include an organization or a firm with an appropriate resources and knowledge of E-waste management. Prior to handing over your E-waste to the trash collector checkout thoroughly whetherthat person has earned a valid government license for E-waste management and recycling. Every electronic product contains valuable metals like gold, platinum, cadmium, beryllium and many others. Extraction of these metals from E-waste can be reused for the industrial production. Even the materials like plastic and magnets are used on a large scale in production of electronic goods, these materials contribute to the maximum level of E-waste and with the help of modern techniques they can be reused on larger scale by many industrial sectors across the globe.

Role of Janwani in E-waste Management

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Janwani in cooperation with WEEE Recycle has been involved in many E-waste management activities in Pune since 2010. An E-waste awareness sessions along with current trends in E-waste management are successfully organized by Janwani. Quiz competition for age group 12-18 is also organized regularly to spread awareness among the young generation. Janwani has also initiated a campaign called as “Aagla-Wegla” in which it spreading citywide awareness about segregation of waste at source (separation of dry and wet waste). The maximum E-waste is a part of dry in nature and hence Aagla-Wegla’s motive of segregating waste at source is getting successful results. Segregation of waste at source increases the chances of more recyclable materials. Janwani volunteers have been motivating citizens to keep dry and wet waste separately and handover the e-waste separately as well. Let’s join hands together to segregate the waste at source and keep our city clean.

-Filed by Omkar Nikam 

References

  1. http://www.ksewaste.org/ewaste_why.htm
  1. http://www.aeconline.org/why-e-waste-recycling-important
  1. http://earth911.com/eco-tech/20-e-waste-facts/
  1. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Pune-generates-26000-MT-of-e-waste-a-year/articleshow/51933560.cms
  1. http://attero.in/blogs/grim-e-waste-scenario-in-india-assocham-report/
  1. http://blog.ipleaders.in/e-waste-and-its-legal-implications-in-india/
  1. http://www.dnaindia.com/pune/report-e-waste-burdens-pune-s-waste-management-system-2007293
  1. http://www.weeerecycle.in/index.php

 

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