E-waste could comprise of all the following
E-Waste is precious to recyclers because of two factors
- They are used to extract the re-usable parts and these make their ways to the second hand computer flea markets spread out in every Indian city.
- Extraction of Gold and silver metal used in minute quantities in chips, motherboards.
But at what cost ?
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.
- The process of extraction uses all kinds of chemicals, like acids - which then get dumped into the soil and go into the groundwater.When you burn things like PVC-covered copper wire, you have emissions of very toxic chemicals like dioxins, which get released into the local environment.
- The people actually doing the brunt of the recycling are people on less than half a dollar a day - women and children working in very shanty-like, disastrous, inhuman conditions
- Chemicals such as beryllium, found in computer motherboards, and cadmium in chip resistors and semiconductors are poisonous and can lead to cancer
- Chromium in floppy disks, lead in batteries and computer monitors and mercury in alkaline batteries and fluorescent lamps also pose severe health risks
However, we can take heart that the authorities responsible in Bangalore are waking up to this new threat.
- Bangalore authorities have cleared the establishment of a 120-acre e-waste disposal facility at Dobbspet, 45km from the city.
- Alarmed by the electronic pile up, a consortium of corporations have set up Asia's first e-waste crematorium, the Indian Computer Crematorium, in India's technology hub, Bangalore. Here e-waste is neither buried nor burnt. Disposal is done through a mechanical dry recycling process.
- Recently, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has given authorisation for two commercial enterprises to handle e-Trash in Bangalore-E-Parisaraa Pvt Ltd and Ash Recyclers.
**Sample metal elements
Heavy metals : lead, zinc, chromium, cadmium, mercury
E-Waste - India Case Study
A wiser approach to e-Waste