The importance of e-waste management in the context of the current information technology boom

As an emerging digital / digital superpower, India is at the center of many innovations, discoveries and rapid developments. According to a survey by ASSOCHAM-KPMG, which generated about 18 million LAK electronic scrap in 2016, which accounts for about 12% of global production, India is gaining in popularity as the fifth largest producer of electronic waste. , !

Growth in the IT sector:

Computer science, computerized services (ITeS) and electronics have been one of the fastest growing sectors in India, both in terms of production and export. Global demand for Indian electronics is expected to increase by 41% between 2017 and 2020, reaching $ 400 billion by 2020. According to NASSCOM, exports in the IT-MPM sector are expected to increase by 7 to 8%. The single market is expected to grow by 10 to 11%, creating between 130,000 and 150,000 jobs by 2018. In addition, India is the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world after China. According to the Indian Cellular Association (ICA), the annual use of mobile phones in the country has risen from 3 million in 2014 to 11 million in 2017. ,

The aforementioned increase in the production of electronic products contributes to the massive push of “Digital India”, where daily services such as banking, travel, retail, healthcare, catering, etc. are used. they all went digital. With widespread digital literacy and increasing pressure to promote access to technology in non-English languages, the use of electronic services and computer services is becoming a domestic phenomenon with a presence beyond the urban population.

Game: electronic waste

With the sudden and sharp increase in electronics consumption, such as laptops, smartphones, etc., the frequency with which older models are discarded to replace newer versions is a trend that is catching up quickly and quickly. which contributes to the electronic scrap. Electronic waste, including electronic and electrical waste, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, computers, monitors, servers, printers, televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, computer monitors, etc., is an important issue. In addition, the deadly environmental and health risks associated with the informal handling of electronic waste are an immediate threat that urgently needs to be tackled. In addition, India, the world’s fifth largest producer of electronic waste, currently recycles less than 2% of its annual e-waste.

The unsustainable and unscientific treatment of electronic waste has created enormous health problems for those involved in the process. In India alone, two thirds of those involved in the recycling of electronic waste suffer from respiratory, shivering, cardiovascular and lung diseases due to inadequate safety precautions and unsafe recycling methods. In addition to the disposal of hazardous waste, important resources are also wasted.

Efficient recycling of electronic waste could be a solution to infiltrating contaminants such as chromium, mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium and plastics into the ecosystem. Instead, they can be conserved and recycled through processes such as “urban mining.”

The solution:

Currently, most of the electronic waste in India is auctioned (usually a route from various public institutions) or sold to scrap merchants, who in turn sell it to informal recycling companies. In contrast to developed countries like Switzerland, where consumers pay a recycling tax, scrap dealers in India pay consumers a positive price for their outdated electronic waste. This encourages consumers to dispose of their electronic waste through informal waste collectors, resulting in higher collection rates and multiple social and economic benefits for the poorer parts of the country.

While the world has already taken appropriate steps to effectively process and manage electronic waste, India is beginning to recognize its importance. In line with the regulations on the disposal of electronic waste adopted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2016, the government has introduced extended producer responsibility (EPR) allowing producers to collect 10% to 70% (over a period of seven years). ) the electronic waste that they produce. In addition, the 2011 and 2016 Decommissioning of Electrical Waste Regulations issued by the Department of Environment and Forests (MOE) requires all manufacturers (commercial establishments) to have their electronic waste recycled at their centers. approved recycling.

However, the sector for electronic waste recycling in India is divided into organized and unorganized sectors, with 95% of the electronic waste being handled by the unorganized sector, which lacks technology to handle electronic waste responsibly. pollute the environment. However, given the large population and the growing number of electronic users in the country, it may not be possible to manage an unorganized sector to achieve such high goals. The ASSOCHAM-KPMG study therefore suggests that the government consider cooperation with the sector to develop formal / standardized operating procedures and a gradual approach to minimizing e-waste.

Termination:

With a strong focus on development and a smart lifestyle, it is important for government, business and citizens to focus on environmental and health impacts to ensure a balanced ecosystem. Therefore, as well as the strong awareness and pressure on general cleanliness and waste management, it is essential that the community wakes up and becomes aware of the serious problems of electronic waste we are struggling with. With proper guidance, advocacy, policy incentives and environmental and economic benefits, e-waste management can easily be adapted as one of the key business practices of Indian companies.

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