12 Addressing Mumbai’s Mounting E-Waste! - Fr Savio Silveira sdb

posted Nov 1, 2018, 3:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 1, 2018, 3:40 AM ]
India today is racing ahead on the technological highway! It is quite complimentary that we Indians are being looked upon as computer wizards by the rest of the world, and many multinational companies are outsourcing their technological operations to India. Imposing IT Parks have become a common sight in all our major cities. But beyond the big corporations and their hubs, technology has in fact become a household commodity. Computers, televisions, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, cellphones and a host of other electrical and electronic items are now visible even in remote rural homes. But there is a flip side to this technological avalanche. All these gadgets have a definite lifespan, and when that period is exhausted, they just end up as e-waste (electronic and electrical waste).

India presently generates close to 3 million tonnes of e-waste every year. According to a study by ASSOCHAM-cKinetics, India's e-waste is growing at 30 per cent per annum. Hence, it is estimated that we are likely to be generating about 5 million tonnes of electronic waste by 2020! And what we particularly need to take note of, is that Mumbai is the largest producer of e-waste in India, generating about 1,20,000 tonnes annually!

The disposal of this ever-mounting e-waste poses a serious challenge, because it contains a number of toxic substances such as lead and cadmium in circuit boards; lead oxide and cadmium in monitor cathode ray tubes (CRTs); mercury in switches and flat screen monitors; cadmium in computer batteries; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in older capacitors and transformers; and brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards. E-waste also includes plastic casings, cables and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cable insulation that release highly toxic dioxins and furans, when burned to retrieve copper from the wires.