What a waste!
This is regarding "Shocking waste" (16-30 June, 2018). The problem of e-waste arises from the rapid development in computer and electronic hardware. The turnaround time of products is short and new items are being placed in the market at breakneck speed. A product gets obsolete within two years of its launch. Industrial policies are also partly responsible for this rapid obsolescence of electronic items that has resulted in the accumulation of unserviceable parts, sub-assemblies and products. These are all in fine shape, but rendered useless due to lack of interchangeability among similar products of the same brand.
The most ubiquitous product today is the mobile phone, which is available in umpteen screen sizes and shapes to suit different user requirements and tastes. The single most often replaced part is the lithium-ion battery. The secondary cell has a very large storage capacity to hold electric charge for its size and weight. The battery technology used across all mobile phones is more or less the same. The mobile phone manufacturers get batteries made to order to suit the space available in a particular phone model. Here starts the problem. The battery life is limited to about two or three years, whether used or not. Thus, the purchaser would feel the need for new battery after two years of the launch when the handset is out of the market. The old battery stock would just last a few months, and the user has to throw away a working phone for want of a battery. We create garbage by designing obsolescence in the product.
Standardisation of mobile phone battery is need of the hour. Many readers would recall hunting for mobile chargers just 10 years ago. Every phone used a different pin for the charger. The common charging port was enforced by the European Union and now we see very few variations in charger cables. Similarly, consensus could be reached for battery sizes that would reduce inventory besides generation of e-waste. Another item contributing to e-waste is the inkjet printer. Any mismatch in its three units would render it useless. R N MISRA VASTRAPUR, GUJARAT