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E-waste

E-waste

  • E-waste is a  informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their “useful life.”  Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are everyday electronic products.
  • According to Global E-waste Monitor, in 2019, approximately 53.6 million metric tons (Mt) of e-waste (excluding PV panels) was generated, or 7.3 kg per capita. As per report of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India collected just 10% e-wastes in 2018-19 and 3.5% in 2017-18 out of total generated waste.

Issues with E-waste

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health risks may result from direct contact with toxic materials that leach from it.
  • Recycling of e-wastes scrap is polluting the water, soil, and the air. Burning to retrieve metal from wires and cables has led to the emission of brominated and chlorinated dioxins as well as carcinogens which pollute the air and, thereby, cause cancer in humans and animals.
  • In developing countries, the risks are exceptionally high because some developed countries send their waste there.
  • Almost all e-wastes contain some form of recyclable material, including plastic, glass, and metals; however, due to improper disposal methods and techniques these materials cannot be retrieved for other purposes.
  • E-waste poses a huge risk to humans, animals, and the environment. The presence of heavy metals and highly toxic substances such as mercury, lead, beryllium, and cadmium pose a significant threat to the environment even in minute quantities.
  • A large amount of E-wastes from developed countries is dumped into developing countries impacting the environment the health of the people there.

What can be done?

  • E-waste management is a great challenge for governments of many developing countries such as India.
  • Increasing information campaigns, capacity building, and awareness is critical to promote environment friendly  management programmes.
  • Reducing the amount of hazardous substances in e-products will also have a positive effect in dealing with the specific e-waste streams since it will support the prevention process.
  • The ewaste collection targets need to be regularly reviewed and renewed to ensure compliance across India on collection of e-waste.

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Environment & Biodiversity

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