October 2008

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e-Waste -India bearing the brunt

Ali, the local scrap dealer ( raddiwala ) had come home. He was on his routine weekly visit to collect the old newspapers, plastic items meant for recycle and any other waste items that he felt could fetch him money if given to the recycling units. It was noticed that he had 2 HP Laser Jet toners and a old broken computer with him. when he was  asked him if they fetch him any money. He told  that it was his lucky day that he got hold of them that day and that they would fetch him anywhere between Rs. 150-200 ( Approx. USD 3.33 to 4.44 ). Is e-waste* so precious?

A quick search on the Net revealed startling facts. Toxics Link, a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation, says India generates $1.5bn worth of e-waste annually, with 1,050 tons of electronic scrap dumped by manufacturers and assemblers. Developed nations too find it cheaper to use developing nations as dumping grounds.

e-waste could comprise of Home Appliances, IT equipment, entertainment equipment, telecommunications equipment, data, audio and video media, CDs, DVDs, tapes, printer consumables, ink cartridges, toner, cartridges, laser printer drums, laser printer developer units, printed circuit boards, batteries,

Mobile phones

A glance at the media reports reveals shocking and spine chilling reports of India turning into a e-wasteland.

  • Thirty million computers are thrown out every year in the US alone, and many are dumped in India
  • About 80 percent of the e-Waste generated in the US is exported to India, China and Pakistan
  • Home to more than 1,200 foreign and domestic technology firms, Bangalore figures at the top in the danger list of cities faced with e-waste hazard.
  • As many as 1,000 tons of plastics, 300 tons of lead, 0.23 tons of mercury, 43 tons of nickel and 350 tons of copper are annually generated in Bangalore
  • Domestic e-waste including computers, refrigerators, televisions and mobiles contain more than 1,000 different toxic materials
  • Other e-Waste scrap-yards exist in Meerut, Ferozabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai

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