India faces mounting electronic waste generation 

By Editor


Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham) estimates that India’s electronic waste generation will increase by a third to 30 lakh tons by 2018 from about 18 lakh tons currently.

Mumbai currently leads the pack in generating this waste with an annual 1.2 lakh tons, followed by Delhi (98,000 tons), and Bengaluru (92,000 tons), according to the Assocham-Frost and Sullivan report.

Computer equipment accounts for almost 70 percent of e-waste material, followed by telecommunication equipment (12 percent), electrical equipment (8 percent) and medical equipment (7 percent). Over 70 percent of the total e-waste comes from industries, and 15 percent from households.

2.5 percent of India’s e-waste gets recycled because of the poor infrastructure and legislative framework, which leads to waste of diminishing natural resources, irreparable damage to the environment, and health of people working in the industry. Over 95 percent of e-waste generated is managed by the unorganized sector and scrap dealers in this market.

“It is a matter of concern that most of our e-waste is handled in the most unscientific way by scrap dealers, who may be inadvertently handling radioactive material, as was brought to light in the past in the Mayapuri (West Delhi) case,” said Assocham Secretary-General DS Rawat.

Electronic waste has high quantities of toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, plastic, PVC, BFRs, barium, beryllium, and carcinogens such as carbon black and heavy metals that can leach into the soil and contaminate ground water.

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