India generates a cumulative e-waste of 18.5 lakh MT per year.

Indias silicon city becomes 3rd largest producer of e-waste with 92K tonnesPixabay
news E-Waste Saturday, April 23, 2016 - 13:41

Often dubbed the silicon city of India, Bengaluru is home to some of the biggest IT companies including TCS, Infosys and Wipro. But, this also brings with it huge amounts of electronic waste that gets generated, which has now assumed alarming proportions. With a massive 92,000 metric tonnes, Bengaluru is the third largest producer of e-waste annually, after Mumbai and Delhi, according to an ASSOCHAM- Frost report

India generates a cumulative e-waste of 18.5 lakh MT per year, which is expected to hit 30 lakh MT by 2018, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry in India, (ASSOCHAM) report, which was released on the eve of Earth Day. While over 70% of the waste is generated by public and private industries, 15% comes from households, television sets and domestic appliances, the report states.

Speaking to The News Minute, Wilma Rodrigues, Founder, Saahas, a non-profit organization that focuses on organic waste management, says, “Every consumer is to be blamed for Bengaluru’s garbage bomb.”

“Every time our mobile gets old, we go for an exchange program, where retailers promise us a new mobile, leaving us with some extra cash in our hand. In the greed for around Rs 100, we exchange our phones. But in reality, these retailers sell these phones to scrap dealers who burn these mobiles, emitting hazardous material into the environment,” she explains.

The activist says that people have brought this upon themselves, in spite of the presence of recognized recyclers in the city.

The report also drives home the fact that only a mere 2.5% of India’s e-waste gets recycled, while over 95% of the generated e-waste goes directly into the unorganized sector, especially the scrap dealers.

“Most of the people are unaware of the effects that emerge out of scrapping the junk. Causing neurological problems, coupled with liver and kidney complications, poor handling of the e-waste might be hazardous,” says S R David, founder of NGO E-cure, who works in the electronic waste sector, speaking to TNM.

The domestic e-waste contains over 1,000 toxic constituents, which has the ability to contaminate ground and soil water, he adds.

Awareness aside, lack of stringent rules to regulate the recognized recycling bodies is another concern. “Apart from substantial e-waste like computers and refrigerators, most recyclers are not interested in the small scrap items,” says David.

“As a result, small scrap parts like batteries, electronic chips and toys go through the local scrap treatment, in exchange for money. It is also the recycler’s responsibility to keep the cycle going,” he says, stressing on the need for the government to make such laws mandatory.  

Another startling revelation of the report is that over 5 lakh child labourers are involved with waste disposal activities in scrap yards, without adequate protection.

Veerendra Kaur, marketing head at e-parisaraa, one of the country’s first government authorized e-waste recyclers, told TNM, “This is a perpetual dispute when it comes to the unorganized sector. The scrap dealers have no one to vouch for them. The waste is burnt, emitting gases. Most of them do not have any regard for the children who are working without protection.” 

Here is a video on responsible recycling of e-waste. 

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