Following the rain, over 100 tonnes of e-waste has made it to the streets. However, While there is an effort to clear these streets of e-waste along with the rest of the garbage, the Chennai Corporation has not taken any initiative to reduce the risk arising from unauthorised recycling of such material. Of the one lakh tonnes of garbage generated by the receding floodwaters, 80 percent has gone to the landfills at Perungudi and Kodungaiyur. Most of the e-waste has found its way to unauthorised recyclers or dumpsites.
Senior Corporation officials said the e-waste had to be processed by dismantlers, authorised by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB). Processing of e-waste follows segregation. According to TNPCB sources, all local bodies, including the Corporation, were meant to segregate e-waste from the rest of the garbage, which would go to safe landfill sites.
The Board has authorised several dismantlers and one re-processing unit in and around the city to recycle e-waste. But they have not been able to handle the waste.
A recycling unit near the city said they had been receiving numerous calls regarding recycling. “We cannot collect e-waste from homes since it involves transportation cost. Also, recycling e-waste costs money as segregation of similar parts and storage has to be done. If the government is willing to subsidise the recycling, we could help out,” said a recycler.
Mathews Jose, founder of Paperman, an organisation which collects old paper and e-waste to despatch it to authorised dealers, also said the queries had increased.
“Usually, there are about 50 calls for the segregation of e-waste on a weekly basis. But over the past week alone, there have been over 250 calls,” he said.
“I notice a lot of people wastefully dumping their television sets or mobile phones in trash bins. This e-waste may not go to authorised recyclers and undergo the appropriate recycling, thereby polluting the environment,” he said.
(With additional reporting by Gayathree Ganesan)
Dismantlers and a re-processing unit have been authorised to recycle e-waste