The global quantity of e-waste is expected to touch 49.8 Mt (million tonnes) by 2018from the current level of 47.8 million tonnes, with an annual growth rate of 4 to 5 per cent, according to the ASSOCHAM-Sofies-ToxicsLink joint study.
The study predicts that the total amount of e-waste will be expected to increase from 47.8 million tonnes to 49.8 million tonnes in the year 2018. The top three Asian countries with the highest e-waste generation in absolute quantities are China (6.0Mt), Japan (2.2Mt) and India (1.7Mt), reveals the joint study on 'Rethinking Waste- Scaling Opportunity in India'.
In India, approximately 1.5% of the total e-waste generated is recycled by formal recyclers or institutional processing and recycling, and another 8% of the e-waste generated is rendered useless and goes to landfills.
The biggest e-waste recycling market in India is in Delhi followed by Bengaluru and Chennai. While the informal sector's efficiency in collecting e-waste and its contribution towards resource recovery are laudable, various health and environmental issues are related to informal recycling activities.
E-waste contains various toxic substances such as mercury, lead, or brominated flameretardants to name but a few. Upon prolonged exposure during unsafe e-waste recycling activities, these substances lead to damage of almost all major body systems (nervous systems, blood systems, brain development, skin disorders, lung cancer, heart, liver, and spleen damage). This is particularly relevant in the informal sector, as a considerable number of informal e-waste workers do not take any health preventive measures.
As per the report, about 80% of e-waste workers in India suffer from respiratory ailments like breathing difficul ties, irritation, coughing and choking due to improper safeguards. With bare hands and no protective facemasks, workers, children are usually among the most exposed to toxic fumes on a daily-basis. Tubelights, motherboards and toner
cartridges are burnt on open flames, spewing lead, mercury and cadmium into the air.
Hazardous substances contained in the electronic products, such as mercury, may be lost if not recovered properly, and lead to air contamination, groundwater and soil contamination. There is thus a dire need to reach out to the workers of the informal sector, to raise awareness about the consequence of improper e-wastemanagement, and to include them as part of the solution to e-waste related issues. It is essential that informal recyclers be included in any long term e-waste management policy. The legislation today covers the role of formal recyclers but lacks a definite framework on the role and inclusion of informal recyclers.
Due to inadequate transport facilities and lacking workforce, collection efficiency in the Indian cities has been in the range of 7073%. In some cities of Kerala, it goes down to 10% and in some cities like Mumbai and Ludhiana it reaches a near perfect 100% level. Thus on an average, onethird of the total waste remains uncollected, despite municipal bodies allocate 85-90% of their total budget on collection and transportation. The uncollected waste is often dumped indiscriminately resulting in choked drains and sewerage that serve as a breeding ground for public health epidemics.
Over 160,000 metric tons (MI) of municipal solid waste is generated daily in the country. Per capita waste generation in cities varies from 0.2 kg to 0.6 kg per day depending upon the size of population. This is estimated to increase at 1.33%annually. The total waste quantity generated by the year 2047 is estimated to be about 260million tons per year. It is estimated that if the waste is not disposed off in a more systematic manner, more than 1,400sq. Kms. of land, which is equivalent to the size of city of Delhi, would be required in the country by theyear 2047for its disposal.
The Indian industrial sector generates an estimated 100 million tons per year of nonhazardous solid wastes, with coal ash from thermal power stations accounting for more than 70 million tons per year. Over 8 million tons per year of hazardous waste is generated in India. About 60% of these wastes, i.e., 4.8 million tons per year is estimated to be recyclable and the remaining 3.2 million tons per year is non-recyclable.
Mr. Sandeep Jajodia. President, ASSOCHAM presenting a bouquet to Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, President of India at New Delhi. Also seen Mr. D. S. Rewet, Secretary General ASSOCHAM and Mr. Pawan Damani, Head-Project Sales, Monnet Ispat.