Thursday, 1 December 2016

E-Waste,its disposal and Environment


 Recently(September6,2016)  ,  a survey “What India Knows about E-Waste “ was released by Toxics Link , a Delhi based  non-profit working on environmental issues  .The survey polled 2030 respondents in five metro cities of Delhi , Mumbai , Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai.Here are the results:
  1. 34%   respondents said they were aware of the rules regarding E-Waste.
  2. 12%   respondents had heard about the   rules  but did not know the details.
  3. Only the 50% of the respondents   knew what   E-Waste  is.
  4. 93%, 90% , 74%  respondents in Kolkata , Delhi and Chennai   did not know anything about  the legal framework and its provisions, while in Bengluru 52% and in Mumbai 77%  respondents were ignorant about the rules.
     5. 61% of the respondents   are ignorant about the  impact of improper disposal  of electrical and electronic equipment.
    6.More than 50%  consumers ( 63% in Delhi and 65% in  Kolkata)  sell their E-    Waste to Kabadi walas(  local scrap dealers)—a practice leading to  informal   recycling , causing  harm  to human health and environment.
   It is obvious that   there is lack of  awareness  among people and users about E-Waste management , resulting in poor E-Waste management.

What is E-Waste?
The waste generated due to   discarded , obsolete , end of life  electrical and electronic  equipments  is known as  E-Waste The computers,mobile phones,  televisions , servers , music systems , refrigerators, air-conditioners, medical equipments  and their respective assemblies contribute to the E-Waste in the country.
                        Globally , 20 to 50 million tonnes  per annum  of E-waste are being generated , which is 5.0%  of the municipal waste at global scale.(UNEP Press Release ,2008).In India , total E-Waste  generation is about 12.5 lac tonnes per annum , which is  merely 2.5% of the global  production , taking a  base of 40 million tonnes  E-Waste generated per annum. Maharashtra among the states and Mumbai  among the metropolitan  cities are leading in the E-Waste generation  in India.
E-Waste has become  the fastest growing waste in the municipal waste stream.USA is leading in E-Waste generation , followed by China, by 30 lac tonnes and 23 lac tonnes  respectively.(Rajya Sabha,2010).
                      In India , the growth rate of the mobile phones is 80%  while that of PC is 20% and TV  is 18%.By 2020 , computer based E-Waste will increase  500% and mobile phone 1800% ,with respect to  2007. (Tom Young ,  ,2010).The E-Waste received from differenr sources comprise the following:
1.Televisions and desktops : 68%
2.Servers                              : 27%
3. Mobile Phones                 :1%
4.Import from developed countries :2%
 The other equipments like  refrigerators, air-conditioners, music systems ,  medical equipments , ovens , etc.,  also contribute in the E-Waste generation  marginally , as their life is more and their use is limited in the society.
Present Status:
The informal recyclers  get the E-Waste  from local waste collectors at very cheap price and recover the metals  like Aluminium , Copper, Iron and Steel,  Lead and Zinc  by primitive methods and leave  all hazardous metals  Lead, Cadmium , Mercury ,etc.,  at the treating sites in open  , causing an explosion of pollutants in the environment. .They generate  heavy loads of pollutants in the atmosphere .They use open burning , acid leaching  for the recovery of metals , which are environment-unfriendly methods.These are detrimental to human health  as the pollutants persist in the environment for years together.
              In general , in E-Wasted equipment, the metal constitutes  more than 60% , plastic 30% and hazardous pollutants 2.7%.It has been reported that  among total metals , 75% are  heavy metals  present in landfills  where E-waste has been landfilled.The landfills are  considered a good source  of manure  and people are making use of it  in vegetable growing .In this way ,  heavy metals  get into human food  chain  easily and may cause  neurological and bone disorders. Such disorders may also come  with ingestion and inhalation .
             Health hazards of  constituents of E-Waste are as follows:
  1. Lead: Causes damage to nervous system , blood system and Kidney .
  2. Cadmium: Toxic effects , neural damage.
  3. Mercury: Damage to brain and respiratory system , Skin disorders.
  4. Chromium: Causes Bronchitis.
  5. Plastics: While burning , causes reproductive problems.
  6. Barium, Phosphorus: Damage to heart , liver and spleen; Muscle weakness.
  7. Copper: Stomach cramps, nausea, liver damage.
  8. Nickel: Asthma, allergy to skin.
  9. Lithium: Harms nursing babies.
  10. Beryllium: Lung cancer, Beryllium disease.
( Ref: Status of E-Waste in India –A Review by Mahesh C Vats , Santosh K. Singh :IJIRSET, Volume 3, Issue 10, October , 2014.)
Present Rules:
In March 2016, the environment ministry notified E-Waste Management Rules , 2016 , replacing 2011  Rules.The earlier E-waste (management and Handling) rules were enforced from May 1, 2012.  Under  earlier Rules, the responsibility of each stakeholder , i.e. , Producer , Collection centre , Consumer or bulk consumer , dismantler and other stakeholders were explained .The E-waste storage was permitted for 180 days, and further    storage would be offensive  until permitted by  State Pollution Control Board concerned in unavoidable circumstances. The responsibility  for disposal of all equipment  produced under his control  was shifted from  municipality to OEM.(Original Equipment manufacturer).
   Under 2016 Rules , producers have  Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and rules provide for  financial penalty for   damage caused to ecology  and any third party  due to improper management of E-Waste.
                    India has ratified the  Basil Convention , prohibiting  trans-boundary  movement of E-Waste .But the developed nations are  despatching E-Waste to  developing nations  continuously in the name of  recycling , charity  and second hand use.
The formal recycling in the country  is in transition .CPCB is registering  recyclers every year.At present , 23  recyclers have been registered   for the treatment of E-Waste produced in the country.
Sno.    State         registered recyclers          E-waste allotted for recycling by CPCB.
1.   Andhra Pradesh            2                         11800 MTA
2.   Karnataka                     7                         3140.6 MTA,120,000 cartridges
3.   Gujrat                           1                         12000MTA
4.   Maharashtra                  3                         8060MTA
5.   Haryana                        1                         1200MTA
6.   Rajasthan                      1                         450MTA
7.   Tamil Nadu                  6                         38927 MTA
8.   Uttar Pradesh               1                         1000MTA
9.    Uttarakhand                1                          12000MTA
The registered recyclers have to  comply with E-Waste management  guidelines  and adhere to the rules  E-Waste (M and H) Rules , 2011.
A fixed quantity of E-waste is being allotted to them .However, they are not getting it easily  and always strive to get it from  import channels  so that their facility may be run at full load.The E-Waste generated reporting process is not in place .The infrastructure cannot be created , based on estimated quantity of E-Waste.

Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) foe E-Waste  :
The ESM  implementation has following challenges:
1.Extended Producer Responsibility has yet to be effectively implemented.
2.,There is a lack of awareness among people.
3.No common E-Waste  disposal point or centre in towns and metros.
4.Formal E-Waste collection , storage , treatment  and disposal system is not yet in place.New infrastructure is needed.
E-Waste is a serious threat to  the human health and environment , and needs our urgent attention .The producers, government and agencies  responsible , NGO’s will have to make joint efforts  to educate consumers  about proper disposal of E-Waste and  ensure that    E-waste  is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.(This article was published in the magazine Tree Take , Lucknow in its issue dated November 15,2016.)