Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to manage e-waste

At the end of the road of fast paced technological innovations lies heaps of electronic carcasses which cause severe contamination of air with hazardous toxic substances like lead, cadmium, mercury and carcinogenic substances

When old computers laptops, mobile phones, MP3 players and TV sets near the end of their useful life, we easily dump them in the warehouse or give them away to a kabadi at a dirt cheap price, not realizing our contribution to the grave menace of e-waste.

Electrical and electronic equipments are made up of a multitude of components, some containing toxic substances which can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment if not handled properly. Often, these hazards arise due to the improper recycling and disposal processes used.

When thrown away carelessly, electronic products end up in landfills or incinerators, or are recycled in environmentally harmful ways, leading to the severe contamination of air with hazardous toxic substances like lead, cadmium and mercury and carcinogenic substances like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The burgeoning problem of landfills inundated with abandoned high-tech electronic appliances is a source of growing concern among corporate enterprises, governments and environmental groups around the globe.

With the rapid technology change, low initial cost and even planned obsolescence, the amount of ewaste is estimated to grow fourfold in the next few years.

In India the problem is more acute as we not only generate a large quantity of e-waste locally but we also serve as a dumping ground for e-waste from other countries. It is estimated that approximately 1 million units of e-waste were brought into India last year.

So far preliminary estimates suggest that total e- waste generation in India is approximately 1, 46,000 tons per year. Moreover, the methods adopted for processing the e-waste involve uncontrolled burning, disassembly and disposal causing environmental and health problems, including occupational safety and health effects.

Proper treatment of e-waste is the need of the day. If recycled appropriately a lot of reusable valuable substances can be extracted from it.

Advanced technology has indeed tremendous fruits to reap but leaves at the fag end the sour taste of electronic scrap resulting from the sheer negligence on the path of the users. We can either adopt the more practical solution of reusing our appliances or perhaps recycling them suitably.



b79 said...

One of the solutions I’ve found that help tackle e-waste and keep existing, outdated PCs going is to go with a company called Userful. They’re huge on green computing and can use a single existing PC to power up to ten workstations at once. This is a huge way to help combat e-waste and bring outdated PCs back to life. You can find out more on this here – http://www.userful.com.