E-waste Essay

What is e-waste? E-waste is those waste materials consisting of any broken or unwanted / obsolete electrical or electronic appliances & gadgets. If it is not carried out properly it can dangerous to the human health or to the environment. India currently produces 500,000 tones of e-waste annually and the figure is expected to touch one million tones in 2012. However, India lacks a proper e-waste disposal system and it is left up to the unorganized sector to dispose of the waste.

The unorganized sector uses uncontrolled burning and disassembly to discard the waste, leading to environmental and health problems uneducated workers are exposed to toxic fumes as they don’t even use protective gear. The improper disposal also allows toxic substances to travel up the Food and Water chain. We shred all kinds of electrical and electronic goods using eco friendly methods. We shred the parts into pieces, segregate the pieces and then send them to smelting companies. Unlike the kabadis, we use no chemicals or flames so our method of recycling has zero hazards.

There is a need to introduce incentives so that people return their electrical and electronic good to the manufacturer when they bought a new piece. There is a need of involving the youth to solve the problem of e-waste. How the e-waste is generating? From getting rid of old machines, to selling the metals recovered from them, here is a step-by-step description is given: • The all obsolete electronics goods, mobiles phones dumped or sold to Kabadiwallah (scrap holder) • Kabadiwallah picks up all useful materials and remaining materials sells to the Local scrap dealer. Local scrap dealer separate the materials into categories and sells it to another (High level) scrap dealer. • After acid-washing or burning, metals like silver, aluminum, copper, iron, steel, brass etc are recovered. • Jewellers buy the all expensive metals out of the recovered metals from the electronics. • Then all remaining solid materials which contain the mostly Plastics (PVC’s) are thrown in the Environment. Only 40% of e-wastes are recycle in India: While an estimated 5 lakh tonnes of e-waste is generated in India, about 50,000 tonnes is imported or dumped in the country.

Only 40 per cent of India’s total e-waste is recycled, and the rest is left in storehouses due to an inefficient collection system. Currently e-waste recycling, especially processing, remains concentrated in the informal sector, which due to poor processing technologies and small capacities have failed to significantly control pollution and environmental degradation. The e-waste assessment study covered over 200 corporate houses and close to 400 households. According to the study, 94 per cent of the organizations surveyed did not have any policy on disposal of obsolete IT products.

This situation could assume alarming proportions. Therefore it is time we paid serious attention to the issue and took corrective action to contain this problem. Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) has appealed to the government to adopt an inclusive model by identifying and defining the roles of each stakeholder including vendors, users, recyclers and the regulator for environment-friendly recycling. The informal recyclers should also be included in this model and an awareness campaign put in place to ensure that the right information on e-waste reaches all stakeholders in a timely manner.

What are the Most Hazardous Wastes? 1. Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) CRT monitors and TVs contain and average of 4 pounds of lead each. Excessive lead and other toxins pose a problem in landfills because they can leak into. In combustors, the lead winds up on the ash remains, which in turn disposed of in landfills. Lead exposure has been linked with learning disabilities, behavioral problems and at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death. 2. Batteries: Lead batteries are this country’s principal source of power for automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, boats, forklifts, golf cats, lawn and garden tractors, and wheelchairs.

These heavy, rectangular batteries contain sulfuric acid, which can burn skin on contact. Alkaline batteries are standard household batteries. They are used in product from walkmans and clocks, to smoke detectors and remote controls Button Batteries are most commonly found in watches and hearing aids. Many button batteries contain mercury of silver oxide, both metal that are toxic to humans when inhaled or ingested. Rechargeable Batteries are found in many products including: cell phones, cordless phones, laptops, and remote controlled toys.

It contains cadmium, a metal that is toxic to humans when inhaled or ingested. Lithium Batteries are mainly used in computer, camcorders, laptop and cameras, when in contact with water and has been notorious for causing serious fires. 3. Printers: Most printer cartridges are easily recycled, refilled or re-built. But printer vendors sell the printer cheap, and make their real money selling supplies. The “right” environmental solution is to sell new cartridges with a postage paid mailer for returning the old one.

Some advanced companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, have been known to do this especially for laser printers. 4. Old Refrigerators & Air Conditioners: Mostly, old refrigeration equipment contains Freon, a chemical known as a Chloro Fluoro Carbon or “CFC. ” Each molecule of a CFC can destroy over 100,000 molecules of the earth’s protective ozone coating, leading increased risk of sunburn, cataracts and skin cancer for the entire population of the planet (human & animal) 5. Plastic (including PVC): Dioxin is released when PVC is burned. The largest volume of plastics (26%) used in electronics has been PVC.

PVC elements are found in cabling and computer housings. Recycling in India: Recycling can be defined as the assembling, developing promoting or buying of new products, which are prepared from waste materials. This exercise also reduces litter and the costs of solid waste disposal. In the past, when pots were broken, they are not thrown away. The broken pots were then crushed into fine clay powder. That improved clay was used to make striking and fine-looking new pots. Today, we use many materials once, and then consider them as waste.

Our task now is to develop the age-ole art of recycling exercises by our forefathers Recycling in India is done both in the organized and unorganized sectors… In a narrow alley in Delhi where computers are delivered to be dismantled or processed, children play near with the scrap metals and chine parts. Nearby, men sort thorough parts of printer, key boards and tangles of wires, their hands stained with ink from the printer toners and with other chemicals. This scene is common among the small-scale “backyard” operations characteristic of the e-waste industry’s unorganized sector.

Bangalore, the silicon valley of India, produces around 600 tons/year of electronic and electrical waste. According to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairman: • About 6,000 tons of electrical and electronic waste is stored in and around Bangalore; • By 2007-2008, the quantity of e-waste production will rise to 1,500 tons/year. How they Recycle? Bangalore recyclers are believed to sell used parts to computer assemblers in the grey market and often use child labor for extracting precious metals through crude methods.

Besides gold and silver, e-waste can yield quantities of platinum, silicon, cadmium, nickel, copper, lead and iron during recycling. Once the precious metals are extracted, the rest, mostly plastics, are burnt or dumped near residential areas. Toxic and possibly carcinogenic substances are released into the air, soil and ground water. Expectant and nursing mothers and children are badly affected. Discarding old electronic equipment in landfills or incineration not only wastes valuable resources but also releases potentially hazardous materials into the environment via leachate and toxic air emissions.

An informal sector recycling … In an informal sector recycling is done without a safety measures… • Especially women and children, in garages and in dingy areas, carry out operations; • In New Delhi alone, around 4,000 persons are involved in the recycling of e-waste compared to Switzerland where 12 to 24 persons handle the e-waste of the whole country. • The Informal sector worker doesn’t bother about the workplace whether it is scrap yard or a residential area. If they get more they will work anywhere.

Indiscriminate dumping and burning of e-waste and unscientific recycling results in occupational hazards and environment degradation: a soil sample of an open field where e-waste was being burnt in Delhi showed that it contained enough mercury and lead to poison it for the next 500 years! A formal sector recycling … But the recycling doesn’t have to be like inform sector in India. Informal sector use rudimentary methods. At the Eco-Recycling Ltd facility in Mumbai, Computers are put on a conveyer belt after minimal manual dismantling, shredded by machines and sent through various separators.

Experts says if the informal sectors worker- combine with the formal sector with it safe practices and environmentally sound methodologies, it represent an industry with limitless potential of proper recycling. Import of E-waste in India: There are concerns in Indian civil society over reports in the British media saying that Britain is throwing out more than a million tonnes of “e-waste” every year. A Guardian report recently, said that, last year, 50,000 tonnes of IT and other electronic equipment was shipped out illegally, mostly to China, Pakistan and India.

It said, in one instance, documents on a container waiting to be shipped declared that its contents were innocuous plastic packaging. But when customs officers opened it up they found tonnes of broken computer monitors and other electronic waste collected by a south Wales Company, which was sending it to be dismantled by hand for its lead and other valuable toxic contents. The illegal shipment of hazardous waste was reportedly blocked and returned. Where its import is restricted and cannot be allowed to import without license. Till date the Ministry has issued not a single license for imports.

Thus, the imports are illegal and could be coming in mislabeled at the time of bill of entry in the port. According to the British pollution watchdog Environment Agency, e-waste exports are worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Last year, such waste involved: 10,000 Old Computers, 50,000 TV’s, 30,00,000 Refrigerators, Millions of discarded Mobile Phones & 1,60,000 tonnes of other electrical equipment. All sent to the Asian countries like India, China and Pakistan. The waste is being exported in Asian countries by companies who trying to avoid paying increasingly high disposal costs in Britain.

The trade is absolutely illegal and against the spirit of Basel Convention. The e-waste materials are dangerous to Environment and Human health, if disposed improperly. The Indian e-waste recycling system, is a combination of several hazardous processes, and is not technically and economically equipped to handle the in-house generated e-waste. Over the years Toxics Link has released several groundbreaking reports on the status of e-waste, which have revealed that more than 70% of electronic waste collected in the recycling units in Delhi was actually exported or dumped by developed countries such as USA.

In India this waste is subjected to primitive and highly polluting recycling operations, which impact the health of workers. Challenges of E-Waste Management in India: The challenges of managing e-waste in India are very different from those in other countries, developed or developing. While there can be several shared lessons, the complexity of the e-waste issue in India, given its vast geographical and cultural diversity and economic disparities, makes e-waste management challenges in India quite unique. A few of these are: Rapidly increasing e-waste volumes, both by domestically generated as well as through imports. Imports are often disguised as second-hand computer donations towards bridging the digital divide or simply as metal scrap. • No accurate estimates of the quantity of e-waste generated and recycled. • Low level of awareness amongst manufacturers and consumers of the hazards of incorrect e-waste disposal. • Widespread e-waste recycling in the informal sector using rudimentary techniques such as acid leaching and open air burning resulting in severe environmental damage E-waste workers have little or no knowledge of toxins in e-waste and are exposed to serious health hazards. • Worker in Informal sector aren’t capable to take out everything which is valuable. • Inefficient recycling processes result in substantial losses of material value • ‘Cherry-picking’ by recyclers who recover precious metals and improperly dispose of the rest. E-Waste Statistics: • E-waste generation in India is approximately 5,00,000 tonnes per year. • Formal sector account for only 5% of e-waste and remaining 95% form informal sector which include PC’s, Mobile Phones, Household electronics, Electronics Gadgets etc. The top states in order of highest contribution to e-waste include Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. • The city ranking of largest e-waste generators is Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkatta. • Mumbai generating 11,000 tonnes of e-waste, which is most in the India. • An estimated 30,000 computers become obsolete every year from the IT industry in Bangalore alone. The reason – an extremely high obsolescence rate of 30% per year. • Almost 50% of the PC’s sold in India are products from the secondary arket and are re-assembled on old components. • 400 million units of e-waste scrapped each year • 133,000 PCs are discarded by U. S. homes and businesses each day • 20 to 24 million computers and televisions are added to storage each year • One hundred thirty million cell phones are retired each year. • Three categories of e-waste account for almost 90% of the generation: 42. 1%: Large Household appliances 33. 9%: IT equipment 13. 7% :Consumer Electronics • “Some 20 to 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste are generated worldwide every year, comprising more than 5% of all municipal solid waste.

When the millions of computers purchased around the world every year (183 million in 2004) become obsolete they leave behind lead, cadmium, mercury and other hazardous wastes. In the US alone, some 14 to 20 million PCs are thrown out every year. Units ; Policies to reduce the e-waste: Ash Recyclers of Bangalore, started by social activist A. Syed Hussain, offers to pick up any obsolete electronic equipment and even pays for it as part of its effort to reduce more hazardous methods of recycling electronic waste.

What the organization does as an alternative is to donate refurbished computers to schools which cannot afford new ones with the agreement they are handed back after their lives end for safe recycling. Maharashtra’s first authorized e-waste unit Eco-Recycling Ltd in Mumbai in Andheri. It was One of the Four such centers in India. The State Government has established a 120-acre e-waste handing unit, Hazardous Waste Management area, near Bangalore, with German collaboration. It has treatment, storage and disposal facility with a secure landfill where highly hazardous material can be stored.

Many Information Technology majors such as IBM, and Philips, Wipro has already announced its willingness to offer. Have any Obsolete Electronics? If you have any type of the obsolete electronics computers, Cell phones, any other electronics, instead of giving it to the local scrap holder just logon to the www. ecoreco. com and the company will collect it from your doorstep. Bibliography: I have collected information for this presentation from: • Search engine “www. yahoo. com” • Newspaper “Hindustan Times” ———————– Presented by: SHEEMAN AHMED (S. Y. BMS) [pic]


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