By a very conservative estimate, more than 2 million computer and its accessories are discarded annually from government offices, business houses, industries and household. More than 1200 tons of electronic scrap is being generated by manufacturers and assemblers in a single calendar year. A complete absence of governmental legislation on e-waste, standards for disposal, proper mechanism for handling these toxic hi-tech products, mostly end up in landfills or partly recycled in a unhygienic conditions and partly thrown into waste streams. One of the largest source of e-waste is the PC scrap from foreign countries that find its way to our shores. The other sources of e-waste which have been piling up near us and polluting our breathing space are -
- Individual households
- Government, public and private sectors
- Computer retailers
- Foreign embassies
- Secondary markets of old PCs
More than 8000 tonnes of computer waste is generated annually from Bangalore itself and in the absence of proper disposal, they find their way to scrap dealers. A survey conducted by the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) and GTZ, the German technical collaboration agency estimated that India generated 3.3 lakh tonne of E-waste in 2007. Additionally another 50,000 Metric Tonne (MT) is illegally imported to India. By 2011, E-waste generated in India is expected to touch 4.7 lac tonnes annually.
E-waste encompasses ever growing range of obsolete electronic devices such as computers, servers, main frames, monitors, TVs & display devices, telecommunication devices such as cellular phones & pagers, calculators, audio and video devices, printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines besides refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, and microwave ovens, e-waste also covers recording devices such as DVDs, CDs, floppies, tapes, printing cartridges, military electronic waste, automobile catalytic converters, electronic components such as chips, processors, mother boards, printed circuit boards, industrial electronics such as sensors, alarms, sirens, security devices, automobile electronic devices.
By 2012, India is expected to have 600 mn mobile subscribers, 60 mn PCs and 143 mn TVs. This will lead to significant amount of e-waste. A few of the unknown facts about the composition of most prevalent e-wastes are:
- E-wastes contains 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
- Brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, plastic casings, cables and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cable insulation that releases highly toxic dioxins and furans when burned to retrieve Copper from the wires.
GA team is dedicated to mitigating the onslaught of electronic waste on our lands, in our air and water stream.