Important Facts about E-waste Management

E-waste, something that has been talked a lot about! It is estimated that Pune generates more than 40 tonnes of E-waste per day, therefore we need to find a durable solution to it. But, do we know a few basic things related to it? E-waste is an inevitable part of our lives and that’s exactly why we should know a few things regarding its management.

Here are some of the important facts that we need to consider about the E-waste:

1. Who can collect E-waste?

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E-waste collection by Team Aagla-Wegla in Pune

The Government of India has introduced a license for the E-waste collectors. This license is issued only to the individuals or organizations that have specific skills and knowledge of handling the E-waste. Giving away your E-waste to the licensed authorities guarantees its proper disposal.

2. Importance of Dismantling the E-waste

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The E-waste dismantling process by Shree Recyclers

The dismantling process differentiates the formal and informal E-waste collectors from each other. The informal collectors like the scrap dealers degrade the value of E-waste by crushing or breaking it without knowing the importance of the contents in it. During this process many scrap dealers are also injured due to the lack of dismantling skills. This leads to the decrease in the value of E-waste. Therefore, dismantling of E-waste by formal collectors such as the licensed authorities assures high efficiency in recycling.

3. Metals need to be extracted from the E-waste for reuse

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Extraction of valuable metals by Shree Recyclers

Every electronic product is an assembly of plastic and metal. Out of it, the metals stand out with a very high economic value. The metals like platinum, cadmium, lithium, aluminum, etc. can be reused by extracting it carefully from the E-waste. The reuse of these metals ultimately helps to decrease the cost of raw materials.

4. E-waste consists of many hazardous substances

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E-waste collection by Shree Recyclers

The chemicals used in the refrigerators, television sets, etc. are hazardous to human health. The metals like mercury are considered dangerous as it might lead to various cardiovascular diseases. If the E-waste is not disposed properly, these toxic elements can interfere in the food chain and ultimately affect the whole biological cycle.

What do we need to do?

Considering the above facts, it is very much necessary for each one of us to dispose our E-waste in a proper manner. It is also necessary to identify the valid E-waste collectors and recyclers in order to avoid further problems related to human health and environment.

Let’s do our bit and give away the E-waste to the licensed authorities! Let’s play our role in our city’s waste management!

-Filed by Omkar Nikam

References

http://www.aeconline.org/why-e-waste-recycling-important

http://ewastecleanup.com/importance-e-waste-recycling/

https://www.thebalance.com/introduction-to-electronics-e-waste-recycling-4049386

http://www.electronicstakeback.com/resources/problem-overview/

Understanding the Waste Cycle

Take a look at how waste travels from our home to the landfill, it can give you a reason to segregate

The garbage that we generate in our daily life mostly ends up in a mixed form. This makes the segregation process more complex and creates problem for reusing and recycling waste materials. To understand the importance of why waste should be segregated at source, we need to have a look at the complete waste cycle.

The Place of Generation

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The use of two different bins helps to segregate waste at source

Generally, we have a habit of discarding garbage in one common bin at home, offices or commercial spaces. This creates a muddle of wet and dry waste. But if we use two separate bins for wet and dry waste, then we are actually segregating waste at source.

 The Process of Collection

The Process of Collection

The door-to-door collection of garbage by a waste picker at Dhankawadi in Pune

The waste collection process is carried out by waste pickers. Most of the time, the collected garbage is in a mixed form. Therefore, waste pickers themselves have to segregate it and send it to the feeder point.

Feeder Point

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The segregated waste at feeder point near Bibwewadi in Pune

Every administrative ward has a feeder point where all the waste pickers gather to deposit their collected waste. At this place, the waste is handed over to Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Further they transport the segregated waste to recycling and composting plants. While the mixed waste goes to landfill.

Composting/Recycling

The wet waste is used by various composting industries to produce natural fertilizers and biogas. Also composting is one of the easiest way to utilize wet waste at home for various purposes like organic farming. This helps us to save a lot of money for daily needs of raw vegetables and fruits.

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The dry waste segregation on a conveyer belt in the segregation plant of Clean Garbage Management Pvt. Ltd.

On the other hand, the recycling industries have a demand for dry waste. The industries either purchase the dry waste from waste pickers or they have their own collection system. Most of the dry garbage is reused or recycled that ultimately decreases the generation of dry waste in the surroundings.

The Possible Solution

As per the rules of Government of India, the city with 100% rate of segregation will be declared a zero garbage city. Today, few of the areas from Pune city are segregating the waste at source. Can you imagine, how great the impact will be, if every individual follows the rule of segregation. This will soon make our city free from garbage.

 Punekars, let’s give a fight to all the obstacles and take a step ahead to segregate waste at source.

-Filed and Photos by Omkar Nikam

Motivating Young Minds for E-waste Management

The E-waste drawing competitions held by Aagla-Wegla in association with Cummins India Ltd enlighten students about e-waste management

Drawing competitions- a medium to foster the awareness about E-waste

‘A man is handing over his out-of-order fridge to the waste picker. But the waste picker, without any trouble hands it over to the factory. Because fridge is not a regular dry waste, it is e-waste.’ This is nothing but a description of a simple drawing by a child. This drawing not only conveys a message but also proves for the fact that children can be great initiators for change. 

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Any child is seen to be happy while drawing. Drawing opens the gates of his imagination and stimulates his thinking. The whole idea behind the e-waste drawing competition is to let children come up with their own perception of the issue of e-waste management and to understand its importance.

“Our aim is to spread awareness regarding the E-waste among young minds. We wish to encourage them to become future leaders of the E-waste management”, says Vrunda Desai, junior manager, Cummins India Ltd.

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With this motive, Team Aagla-Wegla in association with Cummins India Ltd had come up with the E-waste drawing competitions in different public and private schools in Pune. This initiative is also supported by Pune Municipal Corporation.

Till now 3,602 students of class five to nine from 14 different schools have participated in the E-waste drawing competition.

Orientation-Imagination-Expression about the E-waste

The event begins with a brief a presentation and video clips on E-waste. This is conducted prior to the competition, so that students get a clear idea about the ever rising E-waste and different ways to tackle this problem.

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“Having a prior interaction in the form of audio-visual helps the students to be engaged. They also get the joy of learning by a different way rather than the traditional methods of teaching,” says Sampat Khaire, manufacturing engineer, Cummins India Ltd.

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There is also a quiz competition that is conducted as part of the orientation. It helps students know certain unknown facts about E-waste and boosts their imagination.

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A comic book along with the drawing sheet is given to the students as a source of reference. “Having a reference material helps students to increase their level of imagination. We also come across a few students who are not much familiar with electronic products. This piece of information helps them to learn about the E-waste”, says Sulbha Thopte from team Aagla-Wegla.

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Educating the young: An attempt for our sustainable future

Educating the students means educating the whole new generation! When the next generation is informed, we are soon to progress towards a sustainable future. 

Team Aagla-Wegla and Cummins India Ltd is planning to organize this competition in more schools around the city. With an equal support from Pune Municipal Corporation, we are sure that we will reach maximum number of children and their parents soon.

-Filed by Omkar Nikam

Waste Mismanagement: Putting Our Health at Risk

While talking about the waste management issue, we talk about different things like environmental degradation, scarcity of landfill sites, problems with recycling etc. One of the major and probably the most important aspect of garbage mismanagement is its effects on public health. If the waste is not treated properly, it can have various adverse effects on our health. Let us see what these effects are.

India Earth Day

Mixed waste in the slum areas is common problem in India

Photo Source: https://greenindiadrive.wordpress.com/waste-management/

How do we come into contact with the waste?

Anyone of us might say that how can waste affect me, if i am not surrounded by it? To get an answer for this, we first need to understand that there are three ways by which we may come in contact with the waste.

  1. By Touch i.e. direct contact
  2. Inhaling the chemical released by the Garbage
  3. By the vectors mainly, flies, cockroaches, rats and dogs.

Health hazards of garbage

The contact with garbage, intentional or unintentional causes different harmful effects to us. Some of the effects are immediate ones while some occur after a period of time.

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Polluted water of river sabarmati in the city of Ahmedabad

Photo Source: https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2016/03/water-crisis-in-india-world-water-day/

Let us take a look at those that happen immediately after coming into contact with the garbage. These include-

1. Headache

When one goes near the garbage, (intentionally or unintentionally) he or she inhales the chemicals coming out from it. This can cause headache.

2. Asthma

Asthma is caused mainly due to different kinds of allergens. Such allergens are present heavily in the waste. They can enter our body through respiration and cause asthma.

3. Watery eyes and Itching

Again, the allergens present in the garbage are carried by the wind and can cause irritation to the eyes. Eyes become watery and start itching.

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Burning of garbage releases harmful gases leading to the spread of various viral diseases.

The adverse health effects felt over the period of time after coming into contact with the garbage are-

  1. Diarrhea

Flies and cockroaches carry the germs from the waste that can cause diarrhea.

  1. Gastroenteritis

The infectious agents coming from the waste enter our body through inhalation or ingestion and further cause Gastroenteritis. It is an intestinal infection marked by diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever.

  1. Fungal Infections

This is another type of infectious disease caused due to fungi. The fungus is carried through air and can enter our body through skin or breath.

  1. Typhoid

It is a common disease that is spread through the infectious agents. Accumulated waste is a major source of such agents.

  1. Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an infectious disease caused due to an encounter with the garbage. The waste pickers or people living in the surrounding are at an increased risk if the biomedical waste is not separated from the rest of the garbage.

  1. Eczema

It is a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. One of the main reasons behind it is, allergens originating from the garbage.

  1. Congenital Anomalies

Congenital Anomaly is a medical condition that is present at or before birth. These are found largely in waste pickers or people who live near the garbage filled areas.

  1. Leptospirosis

It is an infection caused by bacteria called Leptospira. Its signs and symptoms range from no symptom to non-specific ones like headaches, muscle pains, and fevers or organ dysfunction. Chances of its occurrence are very high when the waste is mixed with water. The feces of rats and dogs carry the bacteria responsible for this disease. They enter our body through skin.

  1. Dengue

It is one of the major diseases that many Indian cities have been getting hit by in the recent years. Dengue fever is caused by any one of the four dengue viruses spread by the mosquitoes that thrive in and near human lodgings. When it rains, the water accumulates in different places like drainages, public dustbins or even the bottles and cans thrown in public or private spaces. The mosquitoes spreading the infection reproduce in the water within 15 days. As a result, people in the area are infected by Dengue.

  1. Metal Poisoning

In a few cases, it is also observed that the solid waste contains metals like mercury and lead. Such metal content present in the waste material can percolate in the ground causing heavy metal poisoning to the fish living in the nearby water bodies. If we eat these fish, we are also at a risk of metal poisoning.

  1. Continuous Contact and Burning of waste can cause severe health hazards

Apart from the above, it is also observed that those diabetic patients who come in contact with the garbage frequently tend to have a poor blood sugar control compared to others. The exact cause-effect relationship is still unknown but, the phenomenon has been observed by the experts. The same effect is true for cardiovascular pain as well.

Burning the garbage also leads to harmful effects to public health. It emits Carbon Monoxide which proves to be very harmful for our health. Moreover, if plastic is burnt, it emits carcinogenic gases that put us at a risk of having cancer.

Segregation is the key to protect ourselves

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Segregated wet and dry waste in two different waste bins.

Unaware of the severe health hazards of the garbage, we end up following the incorrect methods of waste disposal. Mixed waste, especially causes great harm to human health.

Segregation at source is a key element to avoid major issues related with human health. If we keep the waste segregated and hand it over separately, chances of recycling increase. This reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill, thus preventing the harmful effects to those who live near the landfill sites.

Moreover, if we throw the waste in the right place i.e. the separate dustbins for wet and dry waste, no public space or private space will be littered. This will prevent us from maximum of the health issues.

Keeping the waste segregated will also save the waste pickers from catching harmful infections and diseases.

Let’s be a responsible citizen and join hands to segregate the waste at source for our healthier future!

Resource Person: Dr. Prakash Doke, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University Medical College

-Filed by Vaishnavi Sambhus

 

‘Segregation at source is an effective solution to the problem of Waste Management’

World known Indian astrophysicist Dr. Jayant Narlikar supported the solid waste management campaign run by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in association with Janwani’s  Aagla Wegla. He appealed people to segregate the waste at source because it is the key to effective waste management.

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There are different ways by which the waste is generated. If we generate the waste, it becomes our responsibility to manage it. That too, in a way that it is not harmful to any other entity.

We all need to begin from our homes. We need to follow the method of segregation that the experts tell us. We have to keep the waste segregated in wet and dry. And hand it over separately to the waste pickers.

This is the way ahead. Segregation will help us solve the severe problem of waste management that we are facing currently. Segregate your waste into wet and dry and hand it over separately!

Japan: The World’s Best Recycling Country

Japan is one of the countries that grab our attention when it comes to effective waste management. The country’s work is remarkable in this field.

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Mt. Fuji from Yokohama city, Japan.

Photo Source: http://www.petsprin.com/japan-city-wallpaper-full-hd/

From the total waste generated annually in the country, approximately 50% of the solid waste is recycled. Only 16% of the waste goes to the landfill sites.

Due to very less area of land, Japan started analyzing and working on waste management policies since post world war II. With the implementation of various garbage segregation and recycling policies, Japan is now one of the best recycling countries of the world.

The 3R Strategy

Every individual in Japan generates around 1.1kg of waste every day. To manage more than million tons of garbage, it is first necessary to identify the sources of the waste and try to reduce its generation. The 3R strategy, i.e., Reduce-Reuse-Recycle was introduced by Japan in the year 2000. To implement this policy in an effective way, Japanese government enforced strict rules on segregating waste at source. As a result, there was an overall increase in the amount of reusable and recyclable garbage which eventually led to decreased waste generation.

Segregation of waste

Japan gives clear view of waste segregation and its importance in recycling industries. With more than 20 types of segregation, Japan has the highest productivity by recycling the tons of garbage.

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Waste bins at Waseda in Japan.

Photo Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recycling_in_Japan#/media/File:Recycling_bins_Japan.jpg

The sorting procedure varies from region to region but the general categories of segregating the waste are as follow:

1. Paper

2. Plastic

3. PET(Polyethylene Terephthalate) Bottles

4. Cans

5. Food waste

6. Unbroken Glasses

7. Batteries

The list goes on with different types of waste such as hazardous waste, automobile waste, E-waste and much more.

It seems to be a complex and hectic job. Isn’t it? Though, in reality, it is not that complex. If there are different bins for each type of waste and the waste is stored accordingly, the job is really easy.

Why segregation is an important step?

While facing the scarcity of land for landfill sites, Japan had to search for an alternative solution to manage the huge amount of waste. With a rise in population, there was a large amount of waste generated every day. The huge amount of garbage found a way to water bodies or landfilling. To stop the degradation of natural resources caused due to these methods, Japan imposed certain rules on waste management system. The further study claimed that segregation of waste at source could be the effective measure to reduce, reuse and recycle the garbage.

Waste Treatment

The waste treatment has roles to play for the waste collectors and the generators. The Municipality and Industries are the two responsible factors for managing and collecting waste from their respective generators.

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Segregated cans, glass and plastic bottles to be transported for recycling by municipality in Japan.

Photo Source: https://www.tofugu.com/japan/garbage-in-japan/

The Municipality collects the waste from households, restaurants and commercial sectors. After the collection, garbage is sorted into different types of waste and then further sent for recycling or processing for reuse. The waste which can’t be reused or recycled is sent to landfill.

The Industries have to manage their own waste by the same rule of segregation, but the procedure is bit different as the waste generated is highly dangerous to human health. This waste is segregated as per the level of toxicity and explosiveness. This waste is mostly recycled by the industry itself to ensure the safety of environment and public health.

What should we learn from Japan??

Japan has just followed one simple rule for effective waste management that is “Segregating Waste at Source”. The strategy brought a revolution and Japan changed the face of recycling industries.

We too have started to segregate the waste at source and progress towards zero garbage. We need to be consistent in our efforts of handing over segregated garbage to the waste pickers to make our future clean and healthy.

-Filed by Omkar Nikam

 

References

https://www.env.go.jp/en/recycle/smcs/attach/hcswm.pdf

https://www.tofugu.com/japan/garbage-in-japan/

http://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat26/sub162/item869.html

http://www2.uwstout.edu/content/rs/2007/Recycling.pdf

http://global-recycling.info/archives/371

Five reasons why people don’t segregate waste

Waste management has now become a global concern. Many new techniques and solutions are coming up to overcome the issue and to create a sustainable environment for coming generations. All these techniques are different from each other but, have a common basic step i.e. segregation of waste at source. Segregation at source i.e. at our homes and offices, where most of the waste is generated is a key element to effective management of waste. However, we as a society fail to understand its importance.  

Following are the five reasons why people don’t segregate the waste at source:

1. We are not aware of the hazards of mixed waste

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Discarding of household garbage in mixed form, decreases the chances of recycling and reusing the waste materials.

“What harm is it going to make if I don’t keep the waste segregated?” It is the first question we ask when being told about segregation. In reality, it causes great harm! There are numerous issues relating to mixed waste. Firstly, the non-segregated waste adversely affects human health by giving rise to different infections and diseases. waste pickers or people living near the area where mixed waste is piled up are at a great risk of such disorders. Secondly, it reduces the chances of recycling the waste. In short, if the waste is mixed, it cannot undergo the right disposal path. This leads to more landfilling which is a very dangerous way of managing waste.  

2. We think that it is not our responsibility to segregate the waste

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Waste picker are only responsible for transporting segregated waste but not for segregating waste at source.

Many of us believe that segregating the waste is not our responsibility. It is the job of Municipal Corporation. However, it is not so. Segregating the waste is the responsibility of citizens. If we generate the waste, we need to be responsible for its segregation too. If we perform our role of segregation, we make the further processing easy.

3. We are not aware of different waste cycles

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Pellets made from Garden Waste by Clean Garbage Management Pvt. Ltd. have capable of replacing coal due to higher burning capacity with little or zero emission of air pollutants.

What would you answer when asked about what happens to the waste that you give away? Landfill is a common answer many of us will give. We believe that all the waste that is generated, goes to landfill. In a way, we think that all the waste is treated in the same manner. However, that is not the truth. There are different kinds of waste and they are treated differently. For example, wet waste can be composted, dry waste can be recycled and e-waste can be recycled and reused. We ought to be aware of what comes under each type and how it is managed. If followed the right method, the waste can reach its safe and sustainable destination.

4. We don’t like to put our hands into waste

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Disposing the wet and dry waste in two different bins makes it easy to handle and transport the waste.

Who would want to put their hands into the trash? We all find it disgusting. This is the reason many of us do not want to segregate the waste. Some of us have a misconception that we need to segregate it by our hands. However, this is not the fact. If we throw the waste in two different containers, there is no need to again segregate it. We need to store the waste differently. That’s it!

Apart from this, if we are not willing to handle the waste by our hands, how can we let the waste pickers do that? We need to think about it. The solution is easy; it just needs to get in action.

5. We are not willing to pay the waste pickers

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A door-to-door collection of garbage by the waste picker of SWaCH.

Many of us are not willing to spend on the waste pickers. We end up neglecting their job. Thus, we discard our household waste in a mixed form at a nearby public dustbin. However, if we pay the waste pickers and make sure that they throw away the waste in a segregated form, it will help recycling. Spending a few pennies monthly is not a big deal for most of us. But, it is a great advantage for all. Our money can ensure our safe and clean future!

Let’s unite and take a step towards segregation!

-Filed by Vaishnavi Sambhus