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Not a wasted effort anymore
A lively discussion at DU on issues of e-waste and bio-medical waste management
Source: Soma Sen, Date: January , 2009
Yet in another attempt to create awareness amongst the young
masses, Environment and Health Public Lecture was held in School of Environment
Studies (SES), Delhi University (DU), on 28th Jan ’09, the topic of discussion
being “Hazardous Waste”. The panelists included Dr. T.K Joshi, Occupational and
Environmental Health Expert, Maulana Azad Medical College; Priti Mahesh and Anu
Agarwal, experts on E-waste and Bio-medical Waste from Toxics Link.
Dr. Mihir Deb, Director, SES, DU delivered the inaugural address. He expressed
his warm gratitude towards Toxics Link for collaborating with SES in organizing
an event like public lecture for the young students. He had also expressed his
concern for the environmental disaster.
Dr. Joshi talked at length on the health impacts of
hazardous waste. He stated that waste management is one of the most problematic
and challenging environmental issues. He explained the different sectors from
where hazardous waste is generated and also the nature of the waste. He cited
many live examples from his treasure house of knowledge and shared information
amongst the students in the simplest form, as he believes “the subject matter
needs to be explained in simple terms to the audience, specially the young who
are our hope”.
Priti Mahesh briefed the students about the current scenario
related to Hazardous Waste Managemnet in India. She talked on e-waste and the
laws and regulations that are being set up for the proper handling and disposal
of e-waste. However, these regulations remain open ended with lots of loopholes
in it, resulting in lack of self-regulation and implementation. She expressed
her views on how in absence of a proper and stringent legislation in India,
waste, not only e-waste but also solid municipal waste is being shipped to
India and other developing countries. An area of concern as pointed out by
Priti is the health of workers engaged in recycling waste and also the
repercussion on environment.
Bio-medical waste was another important subject of
discussion and Anu Agarwal gave an insight of the history of biomedical waste –
how biomedical waste was treated in India before 1995, Toxics Link’s
contribution towards setting up the guidelines on biomedical waste in the
country and its subsequent follow ups for sustained interest and its
implementation. She explained the ill effects of mercury and why this needs to
Concern for the environment was very much evident among the young audience when
the house was heated up during the question answer session. Young audience
raised several questions - how to dispose the used batteries; how to dispose of
the mercury; what is Government’s move towards its eradication? Though Ms. Anu
explained the measures set up for mercury spill yet the ultimate solution to
abolish mercury remained unanswered as the ultimate answer is to be given by
the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
It was an interactive session and indeed overwhelming to see
the enthusiastic young crowd concerned for the environment. As Dr. Joshi
rightly said “I enjoyed the session. The company of young makes you feel young.
So I enjoyed every bit of it”.
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