Monday, 11 June 2012

Ever wondered the cell phone, computer parts and other electronic gadgets you discard, once they become obsolete, pollute the earth and cause damage to the delicate ecological balance

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Ever wondered the cell phone, computer parts and
other electronic gadgets you discard, once they become obsolete,
pollute the earth and cause damage to the delicate ecological balance.
Thanks to lack of proper guidelines, 95 per cent of electronic or
ewaste is not disposed of in a scientific manner.

“Just 4.5 per cent of electronic waste generated in India gets
recycled. The remaining simply adds up to the existing heaps of
ewaste,” says a study conducted by the apex industry body Associated
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

The study released on the World Environment Day on Tuesday regrets
over the absence of proper infrastructure, legislation and framework
for disposing of electronic gadgets and products that have reached the

The country generates over 4.4 lakh tonnes of e-waste annually and
almost half of all the unused and end-of-life electronic products lie
ideally in landfills, junkyards and warehouses. And it is growing at a
compounded annual rate of about 20 per cent.

According to the study, computer equipment accounts for almost 68 per
cent of e-waste material followed by telecommunication equipment (12
per cent), electrical equipment (8 per cent), medical equipment (7 per
cent) and other equipment including the household e-crap account for
the remaining five per cent.

“Over 90 per cent of the e-waste generated in India is managed by
unorganized sector and the scrap dealers in this market dismantle the
disposed of products instead of recycling the same,” said Mr DS Rawat,
secretary general of Assocham.

However, most of the discarded products can be recycled, refurbished
and redeployed going down the value chain and can be reused by a bit
of reconstruction process thereby reducing the overall impact on the
environment, Mr Rawat added.

The report suggested that used computers and discarded consumer
durables must be collected and donated to the schools and orphanages
run by non-profit organizations and other agencies involved in social
cause through refurbishment, as this would also increase life span of
useful e-devices, which have reportedly reached their end of life.

About E-waste

* Ewaste includes discarded parts of electronic goods like mobile or
land phones, computers, calculators, TV, washing machines, and laptops.

* The methods to get rid of the ewaste is to recycle it in a scientific way.

* Almost every individual contributes to the ewaste pollution.
Electronic industries and big companies generate high amounts of ewaste.

* Ewaste is harmful to environment primarily because of the heavy use of plastic and 
non-biodegradable material.

* Cell phone batteries poison the earth as they contain harmful chemicals

* With regard to big size batteries, government has already made it mandatory for agents 
to collect used batteries before issuing new ones. there is no such rule with regard to 
small batteries used in cell phone, laptops and ipods etc

The ewaste is segregated based on the material. Metals like copper, lead, mercury, 
aluminium and chromium are reclaimed and recycled for production of new products.

The plastic and non-biodegradable parts are reduced to raw material, which is used again 
to make new products. This will reduce the demand for fresh material, and thus reduced 
production of non-biodegradable material.

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