By: Prof. Jaswant Singh, Member-Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica & Arctic, Director-Institute of Earth Sciences & Editor-ICN Group
E-waste, or electronic waste, describes end-of-life electrical goods such as computers, televisions, printers, and mobile phones.
The Electronics manufacturing industries are one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. It is also the most pioneering industry which is utilizing new technologies day by day, due to which the electronics and electrical appliances are being discarded at very fast rate, as buying new products are quite cheaper than repairing them, which increases the quantity of the e-waste.
As per the current estimate the Global market of e-waste has reached 53 million tons from 48 million tons in 2008. India generates 3, 50,000 tons of e-waste and imports 50,000 tons annually.
By 2020 the e-waste in country will jump around to 1.5 million tones. E-waste contains toxic metals such as Cadmium (Cd), Cobalt (Co), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Nickle (Ni), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), that can have unpleasant effect on human health and the environment.
The leachate samples, collected from the different landfills contain high concentrations of heavy metals and brominated fuel retardants, i.e., polybrominated diphenyl ethers and tetrabromobisphenol.
The Manufacturers and consumers must have proper information system to be responsible for this futuristic waste for which the Government has provided a strict and clear legislation i.e., the e-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.
In developing countries people are generally unaware of this particular type of waste and how and where to dispose them, this paper is an overview of current e-waste management practices, take back policies of different electronic brands, recycling, reuse, donation options and magnitude of the disposal problem of electronic waste.