Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) is likely to generate about 1,50,000 metric tonnes (MT) of e-waste per annum by 2020 from the current level of 85,000 metric tonnes growing at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25 per cent, reveals a study by Assocham Council on Climate Change & Environment.
The factors attributed are low organised recycling, cross-border flow of waste equipment into India, limited reach out and awareness regarding disposal, and lack of coordination between various authorities are responsible for the non-involvement of municipalities in E-waste management, adds the paper.
D S Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham said Delhi-NCR is turning into the world’s e-waste dumping yard with the capital alone getting 85 percent of waste generated in the developed world.
E-waste is directly linked to the economic growth of the country and also overall consumer spending pattern.
India’s economic growth has lifted millions of people from lower-income group to middle and high-income groups and increased purchasing power.
The paper further reveals that United States (US) is ranked top acquiring the highest share of importing e-waste in India followed by China and European Union (EU).
Looking at the country-wise share in India’s e-waste imports, US has a maximum share of around 42 per cent, China at around 30 per cent followed by Europe at around 18% and rest 10 per cent is from other countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Japan etc, adds the Assocham paper.
Computer equipment accounts for almost 68 per cent of e-waste followed by telecommunication equipment (12 per cent), electrical equipment (8 per cent) and medical equipment (7 per cent). Other equipment, including household e-scrap, accounts for the remaining 5 per cent, the study said.
The industry body said that as many as 12,500 mobile handsets, 8,500 TV sets and 5,500 personal computers are dismantled in the city every day for reuse of their component parts and materials as these products are getting more affordable and more and more people are using them. Increasing usage also leads to more of them coming up for disposal, thus increasing the rate of obsolescence and replacement, the report said.
E-waste typically includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT), Printed Circuit Board (PCB), mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, white goods such as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD)/ Plasma televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and so on. With increasing use of these in our everyday life, e-waste is also piling up. Almost half of all unused and end-of-life electronic products lie idle in landfills, junkyards and warehouses”, it said.
Less than 1.5 per cent of India’s total electronic waste gets recycled due to absence of proper infrastructure, legislation and framework. The country produces approximately 1.3 million metric tonnes of e-waste per annum, noted the study.
These products have components that contain toxic substances like lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, plastic, PVC, BFRs, barium, beryllium, and carcinogens like carbon black and heavy metals. This deadly mix can cause severe health problems in those handling the waste, adds the paper.
Rawat further also added that each state should develop its own scrap yards in the respective cities so that the environmental hazards would be minimized in Delhi-NCR.
The parts are dismantled and the waste burnt to extract expensive metals, including gold. The toxic fumes and the constant touch with metals like mercury, lead or cadmium can give rise to a host of ailments for workers involved in the unsupervised and unsafe process.
As per the findings, about 6,00,000 workers are employed in the various organized and unorganised recycling units in the state, the report noted. Alarmingly, only a small fraction of the total e-waste generated in the country is getting recycled.