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Send e-waste to the recycle bin
Source: Hindustan Times, Date: March , 2013
A towering heap of grimy
CPUs and keyboards are shoved roughly into bulging gunny bags. LCD monitors are
lined up face down on a slightly cleaner desk â€” they will be separated from
their cases and sold off at Rs500 a piece. Two men try to melt metals from a
printed circuit board, unmindful of the noxious fumes that will one day ruin
their nervous systems.
work around all kinds of old and discarded e-waste that has to be handled
manually. Heating karte waqt thoda dhua hota hai, usse kaafi khaasi hoti hai
(The fumes that come from heating the boards make us cough),â€ť says Rahim, one
of the workers.
than city can handle
is the story of every claustrophobic alley in Mumbaiâ€™s biggest electronic waste
(e-waste) disposal sites at Saki Naka. Here, old computers, electrical
appliances, keyboards, laptops, hard disks and related accessories are manually
dismantled, separated for reusable parts which are sold to companies who can
legally export them after acquiring the right permissions.Â Other centres
at Kamathipura, Kurla, Jogeshwari and Malad are no different.
There is no real inventory of the cityâ€™s e-waste, but it is estimated to be
about 40,000 metric tonnes per annum. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board
(MPCB) has only one authorised recycler, Eco Reco, in a city that generates the
most e-waste in the country. Of the 14 dismantlers authorised by the MPCB, 90%
are located on the outskirts of the city, in Thane, Vasai, Navi Mumbai and
other districts such as Pune, Auranagabad and Raigad.
harming you, the earth
major concern: most of dismantling and breaking down is in small workshops in
the informal sector, a process hazardous to both citizensâ€™ health and the
The informal dismantlers and recyclers housed in such alleys are trying to use
the current legislation to conduct their work in a cleaner, more structured
manner, and work with the relatively bigger recyclers in the formal sector.
this should have been simple, given the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules
formulated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2011, more than a
year on, thereâ€™s little to show that the disposal, handling, dismantling and
re-cycling processes have improved.
â€śThe pollution control boards need to be more transparent in the process of
authorising dismantlers and recyclers. Presently, they take a long time to
respond to applications for licences,â€ť says Satish Sinha, associate director,
Toxics Link, a not-for-profit from Delhi. â€śThis makes stakeholders from
informal sector feel left out.Â The health hazards are also huge of
e-waste are also huge.â€ť
knows where to put it?
manufacturers more responsible for the disposal of e-waste, through the
principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a first in the country,
CPCB envisaged that a whole new sector of environment-friendly recycling would
come into effect. The problem, however, is the utter lack of information
â€”consumers still have no clue about how to dispose of the e-waste they
products can be upgraded and others such as mobile phones can be sent back to
the company, but what about batteries? I have no idea where to junk them,â€ť says
Dhruv Shah, a Ghatkopar resident.
about the lack of information on e-waste, Vinayak Shinde, regional officer,
in-charge of e-waste, MPCB, says: â€śWe have to cover a large ground to put
mechanisms in place. We have started this by carrying out an exhaustive
inventorisation study of e-waste in the city and state, through an independent
auditor. We lack the resources to take the regulation to every stakeholder.â€ť
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