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Issue 36
, 2012
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State 2nd in e-waste, but has only 1 recycling unit

Julie Mariappan
Source: Times of India, Date: , 0201

CHENNAI: The information technology boom changed the lives of the middle class but the country is paying a heavy price as a fallout. The e-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2010, come into effect from Tuesday but several states, including Tamil Nadu, the country's second largest producer of ewaste, are not equipped to comply with the disposal and recycling norms.

Toxic substances like lead, cadmium, and mercury are leaching into the soil and polluting groundwater from garbage heaps.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has projected that the country will generate more than 8 lakh tonnes of e-waste this year. A CPCB report said 65 cities in India generate more than 60% of the total e-waste, 70% of which comes from 10 states.

TN accounts for the second largest quantity of ewaste after Maharashtra, and is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Chennai ranks fourth after Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore among Indian cities that generate the most e-waste.

With three of the country's most polluting chemical industry clusters in Tamil Nadu - in Manali (Chennai ), Cuddalore and Tirupur -and the lack of a system to deal with e-waste contamination, the environment has been smacked with a lethal one-two. "How the state deals with the problem will determine if we can salvage the situation," an expert said. "We need many more plants to recycle e-waste, apart from the single full-fledged facility in Oragadam."

Much of the e-waste generated is diverted to the unorganized sector or shipped off to Southeast Asia, said Priti Mahesh of Toxic Link, an NGO. Former director at the Union ministry of environment and forests Lakshmi Raghupathy, who was part of the committee that drafted the rules, has put the onus for collecting e-waste on manufacturers. "Targets for collection should be fixed each year according to the manufacturers' market share," she said.