Tuesday, September 22, 2009


E waste or electronic waste is loosely defined as  discarded, surplus, obsolete, broken, electrical or electronic devices like computers,printers,scanners,CD/DVDs,mobile phones,microwave ovens, refrigerators,televisions etc.Often they are disposed off without thinking the consequences and they often release toxic and harmful elements like Lead,Silicon, Cadmium,Mercury etc,thereby causing irreparable damage to the environment and human health.This has much to do with the growing consumer culture all over the world.In a recent data published by the Indian Institute of Material Management,  the total obsolete computers originating from government offices, business houses, industries and household is of the order of 2 million nos.

There has been much debate over the disposal of such e-waste.It has become a lucrative business for some unscrupulous brokers who call themselves recyclers ,of the developed nations, to dump such products to developing nations.Nations like China,South Korea or Taiwan have been engaged in refurbishing such used products.Such refurbishing has threatened the existence of traditional manufacturing markets in countries like India.

The hazards associated with such unprocessed e -waste are plenty

  • Some of such products are carcinogenic
  • The degrading materials release toxic substances which again turns water unsafe
  • Air and soil pollution
  • May lead to death of animals upon grazing on the fields where such wastes are dumped
  • Loss of physical beauty of the environment
The Solutions

  • Strict international legislations on disposal,procurement and dumping of such products
  • Developing new technologies based on the socio economic patterns of different regions for recycling of   such products
  • Strict laws to regulate trade in e -waste.
  • Global consensus on the negative impacts of such wastes and international cooperation to combat the situation
In India, although the total e-waste production is much less than that of US or EU, India suffers from absence of sophisticated technologies to recycle the waste materials.At present there are only  two formal units of recycling of such waste materials in India, whereas most of the recycling work is done by informal sectors, often ignoring the socio-economic status or demographic patterns of  different regions.Although rules like Hazardous waste( management and handling) Rules, 2003 and Municipal solid waste(Management & handling) Rules, 2000 exist, the implementation have not been up to the mark so far.

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