E-Waste Rising: The Next Big Threat

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Sidhant Gupta

It remains a mystery to the user – what happens to his old phone or his computer which are discarded for a new one. They simply don’t just disappear of course. The threat of e-waste is rising at a menacing rate. Consider all the gadgets that require electricity to run and are of no use anymore – they’re all e-waste.

Indian Alert

A country like India is producing e-waste at an alarmingly fast as each urban household likely to own a computer, a refrigerator, a CD or a DVD player, mobile phones, juicer, toaster, hairdryer, vacuum cleaner and much more. Their disposal seems to be something that we have thought little about.

One of the common techniques for disposal is that the e-waste is collected, a large pit- commonly known as the landfill is dug – and the waste is dumped and buried altogether. This has caused problems such as soil erosion and toxic material seeping inside the soil making it a bio-hazard.

To add on to that, developed countries prefer to send all their e-waste to India because of tax laws and poor management, which is adding up to more problems in the country. India has generated about 0.2 million tons of E-waste in 2006 and in 2010 it is about 0.4 million tons and at present, the quantum is increasing rapidly.

An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 computers become obsolete every year from the IT industry in Bangalore alone putting it a greater risk than all other cities.

The Future

Over 1 million poor people in India are involved in manual recycling operations of such waste. Most working in this recycling sector is the urban poor with very low literacy levels and hence very little awareness regarding the hazards of e-waste toxins.

If left unchecked, the population and the environment – both are headed for serious trouble. It’d be much wiser to resell or dispose of your phone safely than just throw it away.