Electronic Waste or E-WasteIntroduction:Directly or indirectly everybody on earth is attached with the electricity/ electronics items and gadgets.From school goers students to perched old businessman, everyone, these days, is crazy about mobiles,computers, televisions, tablets or other electronics gadget in other shape but the connecting thing is onethat is electronics. We are seeing a global revolution in electricity and electronic items and gadgets. Dailythousands of products are been produced with a massive speed in production to fulfill the demands ofpeople.On the other hand when these products become old- fashioned, obsolete or the technologically deprived,they are thrown out to bins or tore out into pieces. When these homely bins are collected and dumped intoa zone and on seeing that zone, one can easily understand how much that waste i.e. E-waste is coveringuseful areas in and around the cities affecting the health as well as the environment.However, E-waste is the waste which can be restore, recycle and can be reuse many a times as it is orafter a little change.Definition:Electronic waste, e-waste, e-scrap, or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) describesdiscarded electrical or electronic devices. "Electronic waste" may be defined as discarded computers,office electronic equipment, entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, televisionsets and refrigerators etc.This definition includes used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale,salvage, recycling, or disposal. Others define the re-usables (working and repairable electronics) andsecondary scrap (copper, steel, plastic, etc.) to be "commodities", and reserve the term "waste" for residueor material which is dumped by the buyer rather than recycled, including residue from reuse and recyclingoperations.There is a lack of consensus as to whether the term should apply to resale, reuse, and refurbishingindustries, or only to product that cannot be used for its intended purpose. Informal processing ofelectronic waste in developing countries may cause serious health and pollution problems, though thesecountries are also most likely to reuse and repair electronics. Some electronic scrap components, such asCRTs, may contain contaminants such aslead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants. Evenin developed countries recycling and disposal of e-waste may involve significant risk to workers andcommunities and great care must be taken to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leachingof material such as heavy metals from landfills and incinerator ashes. Scrap industry and Govt. Officialsof every contries agree that materials should be managed with caution.IssuesRapid changes in technology, changes in media (tapes, software, MP3), falling prices, and plannedobsolescence have resulted in a fast-growing surplus of electronic waste around the globe. Electronicwaste is becoming a "rapidly expanding" issue. Technical solutions are available, but in most cases a legalframework, a collection system, logistics, and other services need to be implemented before a technicalsolution can be applied.An estimated 50 million tons of E-waste are produced each year. The USA discards 30 million computerseach year and 100 million phones are disposed of in Europe each year. The Environmental ProtectionAgency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly intolandfills and incinerators.
According to a report by UNEP titled, "Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources," the amount of e-wastebeing produced - including mobile phones and computers - could rise by as much as 500 percent over thenext decade in some countries, such as India.The United States is the world leader in producing electronic waste, tossing away about 3 million tonseach year. China already produces about 2.3 million tons (2010 estimate) domestically, second only to theUnited States. And, despite having banned e-waste imports, China remains a major e-waste dumpingground for developed countries.Electrical waste contains hazardous but also valuable and scarce materials. Up to 60 elements can befound in complex electronics.In the United States, an estimated 70% of heavy metals in landfills come from discarded electronics.While there is agreement that the number of discarded electronic devices is increasing, there isconsiderable disagreement about the relative risk (compared to automobile scrap, for example), andstrong disagreement whether curtailing trade in used electronics will improve conditions, or make themworse.“According to an article in Motherboard, attempts to restrict the trade have driven reputable companiesout of the supply chain, with unintended consequences.”Inventory of Electronic WasteActual data on generation or import of e-waste is not currently available in India. Several studies havebeen conducted by various agencies to find out the inventory of e-waste in the country. a) Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) conducted a survey during 2005 and 1.347 LakhMT of E-Waste was estimated at that time which is expected to be increased by 800% till 2012. b) During 2007, Manufacturers’ association for Information Technology (MAIT), India andGTZ, India carried out another study specifying the whole inventory into a group of computers , mobile-phones and televisions products waste in India. The total quantities of generated e-waste in India, during2007, were 3, 32, 979 Metric Tonnes (MT) (Computer: 56324MT, Mobile Phones: 1655MT, andTelevisions: 275000MT)The finding of the study is given as under: Sr.No. Items Weight (MT) 1 Domestic Generation 332979 2 Imports 50000 3 Total 382979 4 WEEE available for recycling 144143 5 WEEE actual recycled 19000 6 Projected quantity of WEEE by 2011 (without including the 467098 imports)Source: MAIT,GTZ, 2007Considering the growth rate, the volume of e-waste will reach nearly 0.7 million MT by 2015 and 2million MT by 2025.State and City wise Electronics Waste generation in IndiaIn India, among top ten cities, Mumbai ranks first in generating e-waste followed by Delhi, Bangalore,Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat and Nagpur. The 65 cities generate more than60% of the total generated e-waste, whereas, 10 states generate 70% of the total e-waste.Legislative Measure
Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India is the nodal agency for policy,planning, promoting and coordinating the environmental programme including electronics waste. Themanagement of e-waste was covered under the Environment and Forests Hazardous Wastes (Managementand Handling) Rules 2008. An exclusive notification on E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules,2010 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has been notified (S.O. 1035) on 12th May 2011 toaddress the safe and environment friendly handing, transporting, storing, recycling of e-waste and also toreduce the use of hazardous substances during manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipments.These rules came into effect on 1st May 2012.Enforcement Agencies in IndiaIndian Enforcement Agencies involved in E-waste i. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India is responsible in identification ofhazardous wastes and provides permission to exporters and importers under the Environment (protection)Act, 1986. ii. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was constituted under the Water (Prevention andControl of Pollution) Act, 1974. CPCB coordinates activities with the State Pollution Control Boards andensures implementations of the conditions of imports. It also monitors the compliance of the conditions ofauthorization, import and export and conduct training courses for authorities dealing with management ofhazardous wastes and to recommend standards for treatment, disposal of waste, leachate andspecifications of materials and recommend procedures for characterization of hazardous wastes. iii. State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB) constituted under the Water (Prevention and Controlof Pollution) Act, 1974 to grant and renew authorization, to monitor the compliance of the variousprovisions and conditions of authorization, to forward the application for imports by importers and toreview matters pertaining to identification and notification of disposal sites. iv. Directorate General of Foreign Trade constituted under the Foreign Trade (Development ®ulation) Act 1992 to grant/ refuse licence for hazardous wastes prohibited for imports under theEnvironment (protection) Act, 1986. v. Port Authorities and Customs Authorities under the customs Act, 1962 verify the documentsand inform the Ministry of Environment and Forests of any illegal traffic and analyze wastes permittedfor imports and exports and also train officials on the provisions of the Hazardous Wastes Rules and inanalysis of hazardous wastes. vi. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is the certifying authority for permittingimports of second-hand goods.E-waste Recycling Practices in IndiaNon-formal Sector: Ninety-five percentage of the e-waste in India is being recycled in non-formal sector and fivepercentage of the e-waste volume are handled in formal unit. In and around of metropolitan cities in India,there are over 3000 units engaged in non-formal sector for e-waste recycling. Non-formal units of e-wasterecyclers are distributed all over India. A large cluster of industries are in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, U.P.,Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, etc. Non-formal unitsgenerally follow the steps such as collection of the e-waste from the rag pickers, disassembly of theproducts for their useable parts, components, modules, which are having resell value. The rest of thematerial is chemically treated to recover precious metals. Due to inadequate means, it may cause leachingof hazardous substances to the air, soil, and water. This recycling method has low efficiency and recoveryis carried out only for valuable metals like gold, silver, aluminum, copper, etc. Other materials such astantalum, cadmium, zinc, palladium etc. could not be recovered.Formal Sector:
Few formal recyclers are operating in India. The processes followed in formal sector are mainlylimited to the segregation, dismantling of e-waste till the size reduction stage of printed circuit boards(PCBs). A shredder is employed for PCBs size reduction. The pre-processed PCB is exported to smeltingrefineries in developed countries for further recovery of precious metals like copper, silver, gold,aluminum, palladium, tantalum, ruthenium, platinum etc. and also treating the slag byproduct in an eco-friendly manner. The end-to-end solution of e-waste recycling is still not available in IndiaThe recycling/ recovery of valuables substances by units in formal sector is carried out in protectedenvironment and with due care to minimize any damage to the environment or society. The use ofadvanced processes and technologies leads to efficient recovery of metals. Recovery technology by unitsin formal sector will be economically viable as the high cost of capital equipments and needed techniquescould be shared by the volume of products. Efficiency of recovery in the formal recycling is high andmetals at the trace level can also be recovered. Some technology works with zero-landfill approach.Most of the e-waste in India is channelized to non-formal sector, whereas, the formal sector is facingproblem of not having sufficient input materials. In order to address the issue, MoEF had introducedadequate clauses in the Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling & Transboundary) Rules, 2008. TheMoEF had advised all the Government Departments/ Offices that e-waste generated in various offices isessentially to dispose of in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with these Rules. Theoccupier has now responsible for safe and environmentally sound handling of such wastes generated intheir establishments. It was further advised that the units handling and engaged in activity like collection,segregation, dismantling and recycling of e-wastes are required to register with Central Pollution ControlBoard (CPCB).Conclusion However, Most of the e-waste is recycled in India in unorganized units, which engage significantnumber of manpower. Recovery of metals from PCBs by primitive means is a most hazardous act. Propereducation, awareness and most importantly alternative cost effective technology need to be provided sothat better means can be provided to those who earn the livelihood from this. A holistic approach isneeded to address the challenges faced by India in e-waste management. A suitable mechanism needs tobe evolved to include small units in unorganized sector and large units in organized sector into a singlevalue chain. One approach could be for units in unorganized sector to concentrate on collection,dismantling, segregation, whereas, the metal extraction, recycling and disposal could be done by theorganized sector. On the same level, Government should bring such legislature and schemes emphasizing on to thecontrol of E-Waste and also conduct such programmes, studies, seminars, etc drive to aware people howto minimize and control E-waste. (Sources: Electronic waste: wickepedia) (Sources: Electronic waste and India, report by Dr S Chatterjee, Scientist –E, Dept of I.T.) (Sources: Report on “E-waste Inventorisation in India”, MAIT-GTZ Study, 2007). (Sources: http://www.e-wasteproject.org/docs/del_amitjain.pdf and http://www.cpcb.nic.in/docs/E-Waste Guidelines-2007/Frontpage1.pdf)