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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Illegal Recycling: Another danger in India's E-waste Story

Illegal Recycling: Another danger in India's E-waste Story

The manner in which the mountain of piling e-waste needs to be dealt with is the next difficult problem on the anvil

Shilpa Shanbhag

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The speed of global e-waste generation is growing by about 40 mn tonnes per year. If this figure is frightening then the manner in which it is being handled is even more scary. In developed nations, electronics recycling takes place in purpose-built recycling plants under controlled conditions. In many EU states, plastics from e-waste are not recycled to avoid brominated furans and dioxins being released into the atmosphere. E-waste is a rising danger for the developing nations as often in violation of international laws their developed counterparts dump them with the waste.

According to the critics of the trade in used electronics, it is an easy task for brokers to export unscreened e-waste to developing countries like China, India, parts of Africa, etc, by impersonating as recyclers. This method of functioning enables them to avoid the expense of removing items like bad cathode ray tubes (the processing of which is expensive and difficult).

According to the report entitled, Recyclingfrom E-Waste to Resources (issued at a meeting of Basel Convention and other world chemical authorities), in South Africa and China, it is estimated that by 2020 e-waste from old computers will jump by 200% to 400% from the levels reported in 2007. Meanwhile, the figure is expected to accelerate by 500% in India by 2020. By that same year in China, e-waste from discarded mobile phones will be about 7 times higher than 2007 levels and, in India, 18 times higher. By 2020, e-waste from televisions will be 1.5 to 2 times higher in China and India, while in India e-waste from discarded refrigerators will double or triple.

But, why is such e-waste welcome ashore the Asian nations? The demand for e-waste in Asian countries began to accelerate as scrap yards seem to relish on the valuable substances like copper, iron, silicon, nickel and gold, that it can extract from the waste.

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