Sandeep Joshi

NEW DELHI: Increased consumption of white goods in India is leading to a rapid growth in electronic waste. With a 10 per cent annual growth rate in generation of e-waste, which is one of the highest in the world, India’s environment might be facing a serious threat.

According to a new study released by the Electronics Industry Association of India (ELCINA) at the electronics industry expo -- Componex Nepcon 2009 – here, the total e-waste generation in India by the end of this year is likely to touch a whopping 4.34-lakh metric tonnes. It is likely to grow more since most electronic goods like TV and mobile phones are experiencing high growth and even faster replacement cycles as consumers outgrow older models due to rapid technological obsolescence. The study, conducted in association with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research under the Union Science and Technology Ministry’s ‘technology management programme’, revealed that over 95 per cent of the e-waste is segregated, dismantled and recycled in the unorganised sector based in urban slums of metros and mini-metros. Recommending urgent technological innovation and market intervention to tackle the problem of environmentally unsound and occupationally hazardous manner of collecting and segregating e-waste, the study has identified an apparent gap in both technological status and market viability of the existing organised recycling industry.