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HomeENVIRONMENTE-Waste Management - Challenges and Opportunities

E-Waste Management – Challenges and Opportunities

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Discarded old and useless electronic gadgets like mobiles, computers, stabilisers, refrigerators, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), cathode ray tubes etc are termed electronic or e-waste. The magnitude of this problem can be judged from the fact that 146,000 tons of e-waste are generated in India every year.

Burning of these electronic gadgets release CFC (Chloro Fluoro Carbon) and Hydrogen Fluoride besides heavy metals like zinc, cadmium, nickel etc which eventually create global warming and produce air pollution.

It is basically the responsibility of the Companies manufacturing the electronic gadgets to collect them after they are not in use

It is the responsibility of the ULBs(Urban Local Bodies) to collect the orphan electronic gadgets and send them to dismantler units from where they are sent after dismantling to recycling units.

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People in greed of rich metals like Gold, Silver etc chemically leach the printed circuit board of the electronic gadgets, burn the wires, grind them and wash the metal residue. It is guesstimated that about 35 Kg Silver and half a kg of Gold can be extracted from indiscreetly dismantling and burning and breaking about one lakh mobiles. But this process creates air pollution. It was going on as a business on the banks of Ram Ganga in Muradabad. As a sequel, the PM 2.5 ( Particulate Matter of size 2.5 micrometre) level increased to 400mg/cm in a very short span of time. The Court had to slap a fine of Rs One Lakh to stop this practice. No city is untouched by this practice and this is one of the reasons why air pollution is rising.

India produces about 20 Lakh Metric Ton of e-Waste every year. And the recurring process is increasing spirally. The life span of a Mobile is about 5 years, the life span of a printer is about 10 years and the life span of a refrigerator is about 15 years.

Instead of tackling the menace of disposal of electronic gadgets, most of the Cities are painting their metro pillars in the name of beautification without realizing that plastic paints emit VOCs( Volatile Organic Compounds) which are not compatible with the human system. Moreover, the plastic paint after some time gets peeled off and present an ugly sight.

If vertical gardening is done on the pillars of Metro Rail and flyovers then small plants just opposite to the exhaust pipe of the running Vehicles will absorb PM 2.5 far more in proportions to what a Bargad tree standing 500 meters away will do.

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The pollution control board is supposed to make a report in this regard to the Central Pollution Control Board on 30th Sep every year. State Governments are supposed to create recycling and dismantle parks for e-waste. Probably, no Urban Civic Body has thought about this till today. We will go for knee jerk reaction when the problem gets compounded. Our today’s problems are the result of a lack of yesterday’s foresight. Let us not repeat it now. Let us start managing our e-waste right from today by creating e-waste collection centers in every town and subsequent actions.

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Col Tejendra Pal Tyagi, Vir Chakra
Col Tejendra Pal Tyagi, Vir Chakra
Col Tejandra Pal Tyagi, B SC, BE (CIVIL), M Tech (Structures) is Chairman, RWA Federation & Flat Owner Federation Ghaziabad and Chief Convener, CoRWA ( National Confederation of RWAs – A pan India National Apex Body of RWAs). R and R Hospital, Delhi Cantt and the Degaussing Basin at Visakhapatnam were constructed under his command


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