E-waste or more precisely Electronic Waste is the persisting products that are on the verge of becoming useless. For a layman, we can define e-waste as discarded electronic products. There are many electronic gadgets whose versions get tossed out with the development of better editions on a timely basis. With the rapid growth in technology, the amount of such eliminated products is gaining momentum. Such discarded electronic equipment is regarded as e-waste.
The repercussions of E-waste generation
E-waste is born with every technological evolution that is taking place in the world. And this e-waste is no less hazardous than any other waste commodity which is causing a threat to the environment. Some of the major menace caused by e-waste are listed below:
The Composure of Toxic Substances:
Most of the electronic gadgets are safe and sound to use without any direct threat to life. However, electronic equipment has a composite amount of toxic materials like lead, beryllium, cadmium, and bromide crumbs which pose critical hazards to the environment. Even when the e-waste is disposed of, the emission of radiation stands as a serious threat to the lives of workers and laborers.
Leaching of water sources:
When the e-waste is discarded, certain microscopic elements which are inevitable gunk into the landfill and thereby meeting the underlying water sources. These poisonous elements eventually dissolve in the groundwater which is used by us in our everyday life.
Instances of E-waste
We are living in an era where technology is riding the chariot for us. We are becoming puppets of techniques and it’s ingratiating inventions. Some of the major instances of such products that are likely to become e-waste with time are:
• Television set
• Circuit Boards
• Hard Drives
• Remote Control
• Cords and cables
• Wifi dongle
• UPS systems
The list is much longer, but here we are there to talk about the consequences this e-waste is bringing to the environment and to our lives.
Disposal of E-waste
It is essential to eradicate e-waste from our surroundings because the inhalation of harmful toxic gases leads to serious health hazards. The other form of pollution is visible to our eyes and we are enduring the repercussion of it.
The pollution caused by e-waste has got similar threats but is less known to the public but with the gaining momentum of Technology, the day is not far when e-waste pollution would become one of the major issues of environmental degradation.
The disposal of e-waste is simple, one has to discard the unused electronic equipment and send them to recycling plants rather than throwing them in refuse or sending them to landfills.
How India reacts to the problem of e-waste
E-waste management has been a major subject of debate and friction in the country. According to a survey, India is the fifth-largest producer of e-waste in the world. And with such a titanic amount of e-waste generation, most of it gets trashed in the landfills where the laborer risks their lives with minimal wages.
Before disposing of the equipment it is essential to dismantle them by professionals else there is a huge peril of data robbery. However, there are several e-waste recycling plants built up in remote places where the life threat is less. These plants are built up privately or are funded by the government for the degeneration of e-waste.
Legal Initiatives for e-waste management in India
In 2016 owing to serious hazards caused by e-waste the Environmental, Forest and Climate Change Ministry laid the guidelines for the management of e-waste in India which was named E-waste Management Rules of 2016 which was the amended version of E-waste Management and Handling Rules of 2011.
Some of the highlighted facts of the amended Rules of 2016 are briefed below:
• The State Government has been awarded the responsibility to make effective plans for carrying out the management of e-waste recycling in their respective States and directly report to the ministry of EFCC.
• The use of CFL and Mercury-containing lamp was brought to attention.
• The producers of electronic products were obliged to manage the e-waste generated out of their manufacturing.
• The manufacturer, dealer and Producer Responsibility Organization were made the new stakeholders.
• The Central Pollution Control Board was authorized to take care of Pan India EPR authorization.
• While the process of refurbishing, the refurbisher are authorized to compile the waste materials and channelize them to professional dismantlers and thereafter report to the SPCB
• Distinct e-waste targets were formulated for the newbie producers. The average life of those products are provided by the CPCB
• The Municipal Corporation of every district was obliged to collect the e-waste from door to door with fees implementation if required, or in order for submission of e-waste from households and commercials.
Lately, an e-waste clinic was set up at Bhopal with an integrated agreement signed by the CPCB and Bhopal Municipal Corporation. A three-month operation is to be conducted where e-waste shall be collected from door to door and sent to Bengaluru Recycling Plant for shredding and segregation.
Central Pollution Control Board is aiming to set up the maximum number of recycling plants in the upcoming years because of the abundance of e-waste. Tonnes of e-waste is generated in our country and the proper disposal of them is the need for the hour.
Mobile Application is also made accessible for web-based management of e-waste. With the use of this app, many industries that were producers of hazardous e-waste were mapped down.
This app aims to avail of easy facilities for customers who seek permission for the transport of e-waste. It will also keep an eye on the authenticity of authorization or certification.
Amendments to the Rules
The E-Waste (Management) Rules have been amended periodically to address emerging challenges and streamline the regulatory framework.
Several states in India have launched their own initiatives, complementing the national-level regulations. This includes setting up e-waste recycling plants and awareness programs.
Involvement of NGOs and Private Sector
NGOs and private companies play a significant role in e-waste management, often partnering with the government for effective implementation.
Research and Development
Investment in R&D for sustainable e-waste management practices is encouraged, including advancements in recycling technologies.
India also collaborates internationally to learn from global best practices in e-waste management.
Challenges and Future Directions
While these initiatives represent significant steps forward, challenges remain, such as:
- Informal Sector: A large portion of e-waste is still handled by the informal sector, lacking proper safety and environmental standards.
- Enforcement Issues: Implementing and enforcing the rules uniformly across the country is challenging.
- Public Awareness: Despite efforts, public awareness of e-waste management remains limited.
The future direction involves strengthening enforcement mechanisms, increasing public awareness, and integrating more sustainable practices in e-waste management. The integration of advanced technologies and innovative methods will also play a critical role in the effective management of e-waste in India.
Erasing the e-waste should become the responsibility of every individual because it not only imposes a threat on the environment but it affects the life of the minimal wagers whose lives are at stake while disposing of the e-waste.
Bad is better than worse. Cautious Recycling is better than critical Disposal of e-waste. A sense of obligation shall preside in the minds of users. They should erase all their data before eliminating a gadget to ensure data protection.