Despite the government’s emphasis on Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan and Smart Cities project, India continues to be generating highest e-waste vis-à-vis China, USA, Japan and Germany an ASSOCHAM-NEC recent study coinciding with the “Environment Day” (June 5) noted.
In India, Maharashtra contributes the largest e-waste of 19.8% but recycles only about 47,810 TPA (tonnes per annum) whereas as its counterparts Tamil Nadu (13%) recycles about 52,427, Uttar Pradesh (10.1%) recycles about 86,130, West Bengal (9.8%), Delhi (9.5%), Karnataka (8.9%), Gujarat (8.8%) and Madhya Pradesh (7.6), noted the joint study.
The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 52.2 million tons or 6.8 kg/ inhabitant by 2021 from 44.7 million tons in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent, according to a study on ‘Electricals & Electronics Manufacturing in India,’ conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)-NEC joint study on “World Environment Day”.
Maharashtra tops e-waste generator, but has only 32 recycling unit
Out of the total e-waste produced in 2016, only 20% (8.9 MT) is documented to be collected properly and recycled, while there is no record of the remaining e-waste. The quantity of e-waste generated worldwide is expected to grow at a rate of 3.15 % (CAGR), due to which the estimate for the year 2018 has risen to 47.55 MT, noted the joint study.
The total value of all raw materials present in e-waste is estimated at approximately USD 61.05 billion in 2016, which is more than the GDP of most countries in the world, pointed out the joint study.
E-waste generated in India is about 2 million TPA (tonnes per annum), the quantity that is recycled is about 4,38,085 TPA. In states like Karnataka has 57 units with a capacity to process nearly 44,620 tonnes; Maharashtra has 32 units that can process 47,810 tonnes; Uttar Pradesh has 22 units to process 86,130 tonnes; Haryana has 16 units to process 49,981 tonnes. Tamil Nadu has 14 (52,427 in metric tons per annum), Gujarat has 12 units (37,262) whereas Rajasthan has 10 units (68,670) and Telangana has 4 units to process 11,800 metric tons per annum respectively.
The sad part is that a mere 5% of India's total e-waste gets recycled due to poor infrastructure, legislation and framework which lead to a waste of diminishing natural resources, irreparable damage of environment and health of the people working in industry. Over 95% of e-waste generated is managed by the unorganised sector and scrap dealers in this market, dismantle the disposed products instead of recycling it.
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.
High and prolonged exposure to these chemicals/ pollutants emitted during unsafe e-waste recycling leads to damage of nervous systems, blood systems, kidneys and brain development, respiratory disorders, skin disorders, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart, liver, and spleen damage.
The current rate of e-waste generation in India is 4.56 times greater than the annual e-waste processing capacity offered by the nation, which leads to improper and illegal dumping/ disposal of the hazardous e-waste, which further leads to environmental and health hazards, reveals the paper.
This includes 2 million tonnes generated in India, which has one of the fastest growing electronics industries in the world. Besides, electronics import also adds to waste. India’s e-waste production is likely to touch three million tonnes by the end of 2018.
E-waste includes all forms of waste products containing as a manufacturing component that run on either battery or power supply. It may include general consumer electronics, such as TV appliances, computer, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, white goods and also, industrial grade electronics, such as telecommunication systems, instrumentation systems and electronic machinery.
As Indians become richer and spend more electronic items and appliances, Computer equipment accounts for almost 70% of e-waste material followed by telecommunication equipment (12%), electrical equipment (8%) and medical equipment (7%). Other equipment, including household e-crap account for the remaining 4%, it said.