Kerala floods: After the deluge, e-waste threat looms large in state

A massive quantity of electronic waste is being generated as equipment such as TVs and computers have been damaged in the flood

Published: 24th August 2018 02:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2018 02:56 AM   |  A+A-

Many camps have been set up to repair gadgets damaged in the floods | Express

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: As the state moves from relief stage to cleaning and rehabilitation, another major environmental menace is emerging — the massive quantity of e-waste being generated as a lot of electronic equipment have been damaged in the flood.  

Though various camps have been set up across the state to do maintenance work of rain-damaged electronic goods, the camp volunteers say they are only helping owners dry their equipment with the help of heat.The condition for doing this is that the owners should not switch on the device.If switched on, the board would be burnt and damaged.

Jithesh P, assistant engineer (electrical), Public Works Department, and coordinator of a camp in the district, says several people are coming with equipment to do maintenance.“We are only checking equipment which are not switched on. People are coming with burnt devices. If the device has a warranty, the owner can do maintenance through an authorised service centre,” he says. Otherwise, it will be dumped as e-waste. Even though maintenance can be done, the damaged parts will be added to the pile.

Foreseeing the situation, the state government has issued a government order entrusting Clean Kerala company to collect e-waste. The company is in the field of collecting e-waste from schools, colleges and government offices since 2014.The company has collected over 1,200 tonnes of e-waste and sent them to an agency, Earth Sense, in Hyderabad for recycling.

Nagesh Kumar S S, assistant manager of the company, says the firm is planning to collect the flood-damaged e-waste through local self-governments. “We will direct them to start a counter to collect the e-waste. The people can deposit the e-waste in the counter. We will pick them up from there,” he said.
Usually, the e-waste is recycled. However, Nagesh says the e-waste generated due to flood cannot be recycled because it is more hazardous than normal ones. “This e-waste cannot be handled as normal e-waste as it is hazardous. The e-waste will contain mud and it cannot be properly segregated in collection centres because of the existing situation in the state,” he says.The company is in discussion with experts and Earth Sense on what can be done to solve the issue. Also, the company collects e-waste by paying `10 per kg.

Call for segregation

Taking into account the large quantity of e-waste likely to be generated, KITE (Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education) has advised proper segregation of e-waste from other material in order to ensure its proper disposal. KITE has been successfully tackling the menace in educational institutions.


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