Generating Awareness on E-waste

Published: 18th November 2014 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2014 06:08 AM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: By embracing technology, India has only become a massive generator of e-waste.

“We have come from 1, 50,000 tons of e-waste in 2006 to 8,00,000 in 2012-13. We are growing at more than 100 per cent a year,” says Rathinam T, vice president, Tes-AMM India, an e-waste recycling company.

The hazardous effect of e-waste can find its way into a mother’s milk. When it is illegally disposed in water, the chemicals get mixed with groundwater, which is consumed by animals and humans. “These hazards have not gained as much attention as required in India,” adds Rathinam.

Although there is an existing law on e-waste (management and handing) that came into force in 2012, the implementation is yet to catch on. “Government collection centres should be introduced in different areas and people should be asked to drop the e-waste there every month,” says Rathinam.

Young Indians, a not-for-profit organisation, which is an initiative of the Confederation of Indian Industries along with Tes-AMM and Industrial Waste Management Association (IWMA), is organising a campaign to spread awareness about e-waste, with schools as the starting point. “Through this campaign, every school can become a collection point, with an e-waste drop box,” says Ravi Senthilkumar, environment chair, Young Indians.

On the other hand, S Mani, chairman, IWMA, says that while reuse should be encouraged, it is also necessary to track the lifecycle of an electronic product at the manufacturing stage. “The back-end of all chemistry is waste management. No parts that go into the making of electronics can be ‘grown’. They are all materials which are scarce,” he says. “We can minimise usage of electronics progressively. For instance, we can set aside a few hours where we do not touch our cellphone,” he adds.

 There are plans to expand the e-waste campaign, which began its pilot project last year with four Chennai schools, to 100 schools. “The general public may not take things seriously, but people listen when kids talk,” says Ravi. “Students are encouraged to spread the message to their neighbours and parents, and collect e-waste. Last year, we got around 500 kg of e-waste from one school alone,” he adds.


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