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E-Waste management a major health hazard

NewsE-Waste management a major health hazard

India 5th largest producer of  e-Waste, worth over Rs 18,677 crore.


NEW DELHI: As industries all over the country are taking initiatives to curb electronic waste (e-Waste), reports suggest that e-Waste management has become a major environmental and public health hazard.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) or e-Waste are loosely discarded, surplus, broken electronic devices. India is ranked as the fifth largest e-waste producing country in the world. The burgeoning e-waste poses a great threat to the environment and the public alike.

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Raj Kumar, chief executive of Deshwal Waste Management Pvt Ltd, said it is important to propagate the importance of proper disposal of e-waste. “There are many things which can be done and which we are doing in order to propagate the importance of proper disposal of e-waste, besides regular research and development (R&D) which too we have been doing.”

The Environment Ministry has laid down specific rules concerning e-waste management. “But, after the government, it is the responsibility of each individual citizen to follow those rules and spread the words so that it is ingrained in each and every individual. As we take care of our own health, we have to take care of our environment too,” added Kumar.

Kumar’s company is associated with voluntary organisations for proper training of people at the base level like maids, rag pickers, municipal workers those who are directly involved in collecting e-Waste. “Through waste management, we not only treat the hazardous waste material to dispose off but we also accomplish our moral obligation,” he said.

He, however, warned that unorganised e-Waste management, disposal and dismantling are digging the grave deeper of the health of the nation and its citizen.

Speaking on the issue, Prashant Singh, founder CEO of Blue Planet Environmental Solutions, said, “Mismanaged waste causes a myriad of environmental and health problems such as pollution of oceans and land resources, clogging drains and causing flooding, transmitting diseases via breeding of vectors, increasing respiratory problems through airborne particles from burning of waste, harming animals that consume waste, and affecting economic development such as through diminished tourism.”

India is facing a major environmental and social challenge associated with waste generation and inadequate waste collection.

Singh’s company has taken different initiatives to curb the menace. “Our company has and continues to acquire technologies that are scalable and practical. We apply it across as many regions at varying capacities. Our firm leverages not only the technological capacity but also the social entrepreneurship model of different companies to bring the holistic solution while achieving a resource efficient waste management system for urban, semi-urban and rural markets.”

According to a study, as of now, the global volume of e-Waste is expected to reach 52.2 million tonne (MT) or 6.8 kg per inhabitant by 2021 from 44.7 MT in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 20%. India is also throwing away valuables including precious metals such as gold, silver, palladium worth over Rs 18,677 crore as electronic waste every year.

Speaking to this newspaper, Ahmed, chief executive of ME Universal, said that the health effects of e-Waste have to do more with the government policies towards the environment protection rather than corporates.

“On corporate level, we are focused on operating paperless working environment so the usage of printers and ‘cloud’ for storage are avoided by doing away with expensive and heavy servers. At the same time, we believe in future technology will solve 50%, if not all, of the e-Waste problem by 2022,” he said.

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