IT capital produces 37,000 tonnes of electronic waste a year
India’s IT capital produces nearly 37,000 tonnes of electronic waste every year, putting it in third place in e-waste generation after Mumbai (61,000) and New Delhi (43,000), says a White Paper on electronic waste management released by ASSOCHAM at a seminar on e-waste on Wednesday.
Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad find a place far down the ladder, at 30,700, 23,000 and 16,000 tonnes per year respectively, according to a report prepared by Frost & Sullivan, based on secondary data.
More than 70 per cent of e-waste contributors are government, public and private industries, while household waste contributes about 15 per cent. Televisions, refrigerators and washing machines make up the majority of e-waste, while computers account for another 20 per cent and mobile phones 2 per cent, says the report.
However, it is household collection of e-waste that represents a “major task” for the municipality, said N. Sivasailam, Principal Secretary, Department of Forests, Ecology and Environment. While industries are now “refining” their e-waste processing mechanisms, household e-waste is neither systematically collected nor processed as collection centres are few and there is little awareness about how to dispose of it, he added. According to the report, only 4.5 per cent of e-waste is recycled by formal recyclers, while 90 per cent is handled by the informal sector. As much as 70 per cent of heavy metals (including arsenic, cadmium and chromium) found in landfills come from e-waste, it added.
The Indian Electronic Waste (management and Handling) Rules, 2011, is an important step towards e-waste management, and is applicable to all producers, dealers and collectors.
E-waste can be seen as an opportunity for the generation for employment, and innovative business models can be created around the industry, said J. Crasta, co-chairman of ASSOCHAM Southern Regional Council.