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Delhi-NCR's e-waste to reach 1 lakh metric tonnes per annum

Posted: 02 Mar 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:e-waste  recycled  equipment 

The Swachch Bharat sanitation programme has brought the e-waste situation in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) to the public. According to the latest study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Delhi-NCR is to generate about 1 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of e-waste per annum by 2017 from the present level of 68,000 metric tonnes per annum, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25%.

The factors attributed are poor sanitation, 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.

Releasing the paper, Mr. 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% of waste generated in the developed world. Delhi generates approximately 10,000 metric tonnes of waste every day, reveals the ASSOCHAM latest study.

The paper further reveals that the United States 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%, China at around 30% followed by Europe at around 18% and rest 10% is from other countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Japan etc, adds the ASSOCHAM paper.

Computer equipment accounts for almost 68% of e-waste followed by telecommunication equipment (12%), electrical equipment (8%) and medical equipment (7%). Other equipment, including household e-scrap, accounts for the remaining 5%, the study said.

ASSOCHAM said that as many as 10,500 mobile handsets, 7,500 TV sets and 4,500 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.

Less than 2% of India's total electronic waste gets recycled due to absence of proper infrastructure, legislation and framework, said Mr. Rawat. The country produces approximately 13 lakhs metric tonnes of e-waste per annum.

"Domestic e-waste including computer, TV, mobiles and refrigerators contain over 1,000 toxic material, which contaminate soil and ground water. Exposure can cause headache, irritability, nausea, vomiting, eye pain. Recyclers may suffer liver, kidney and neurological disorders" adds the paper.

'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.

Printed circuit boards, for instance, contain heavy metals like Antimony, Gold, Silver, Chromium, Zinc, Lead, Tin and Copper. The method of extracting these materials from circuit boards is highly hazardous and involves heating the metals in the open.

He also added that each state should develop its own scrap yards in the respective cities so that the environmental hazards would be minimised in Delhi-NCR.

E-waste includes every bit of abandoned electronic and electrical material belonging to computers, CDs, mobiles, monitors, pumps and printers. Normally, 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.

While Maharashtra, including Mumbai, has 22 units with a capacity to process nearly 32,000 tonnes; Delhi-NCR has 13 units that can process 47,000 tonnes; Karnataka, including Bangalore, has 52 units to process 50,000 tonnes; and Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, has 14 units to process 39,000 tonnes. Bengal, including Calcutta, has a single unit with a capacity to process only 600 tonnes.

Computer equipment accounts for almost 68% of e-waste, followed by telecommunication equipment, electrical equipment and medical equipment. E-waste contains thousands of toxic material and exposure to them—directly or indirectly—can cause headache, irritability, pain in the eye and vomiting apart from liver and kidney related ailments, say experts.

The crude handling, dismantling and disposal of highly toxic e-waste can affect people in large numbers through contaminated soil and polluted surface and ground water.

As per the findings, about five lakh workers are employed in the various organised 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.

ASSOCHAM has also strongly advocated the need to bring out effective legislation to prevent entry of child labour into its collection, segregation and distribution.

E-waste recycled in Delhi All kinds of electrical scrap: Mayapuri, Old Seelampur Computers: Turkman Gate, Shastri Park, Lajpat Nagar, Kirti Nagar Computer terminals: Turkman Gate, Shastri Park and Karkardooma Lead: Mustafabad Circuit boards: Mandoli Gold: Meerut Glass: Ferozabad.

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