CHENNAI: The Software Technology Parks of India, an arm of the Central government’s Department of Information Technology, is set to take full advantage of Wednesday’s launch of the Digital India Week to push a host of initiatives in the State, one of which will be an e-waste collection drive among its 450-odd member companies.
According to STPI Tamil Nadu & Puducherry’s director Sanjay Tyagi, the Digital India Week, which is to be kick started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, will see a host of events conducted in the State. Among them is a e-waste collection drive among companies that come under the STPI’s umbrella.
“We have over 450 companies under our umbrella in the State, including most of the big ones. And we thought a good initiative to push during the week would be instituting a system of e-waste collection,” Tyagi told Express. The process will involve dedicated bins for e-waste placed in all of STPI’s companies from Wednesday. The collected e-waste will be processed by Hewlett Packard, according to Tyagi.
India, according to United Nations reports, generates over 1.7 million tonnes of electronic waste per annum. And Tamil Nadu is the second most prolific generator of e-waste in the country - comprising more than 15 per cent of the quantum, beaten only by Maharashtra.
Cadmium, mercury, palladium, arsenic and a host of other heavy metals form the most dangerous components of e-waste. “These are highly accumulative and stay in the body and the environment, even if the amounts are minute. They are dangerous,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, noted environment activist.
“For people who handle the stuff, from mining to manufacture to disposal, these are incredibly dangerous. The drive is a good thing,” he added. However, e-waste management and collections are only temporary interventions. According to activists like Jayaraman, it is the very manufacture that leads to the issues. “There needs to be extended producer responsibility and other policies, where the manufacturer is made responsible for the proper disposal of the waste,” said Jayaraman. “The best way would be not to manufacture or utilise these substances.”
Apart from E-waste collection, the Digital India Week will see other events at the STPI HQ in Chennai and sub-centres like Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruchy.
Digital India Week is a Central government initiative to increase and better utilise Information Technology in the country, from e-governance to literacy.