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Electronic Waste problem in India
Oct 25, 2013

E-waste consists of all waste from electronic and electrical appliances which have reached their end- of- life period or are no longer fit for their original intended use and are destined for recovery, recycling or disposal. It includes computer and its accessories monitors, printers, keyboards, central processing units; typewriters, mobile phones and chargers, remotes, compact discs, headphones, batteries, LCD/Plasma TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and other household appliances.

The composition of e-waste is diverse. Broadly, it consists of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, glass, wood and plywood, printed circuit boards, concrete, ceramics, rubber and other items. Iron and steel constitute about 50% of the waste, followed by plastics (21%), non-ferrous metals (13%) and other constituents. Non-ferrous metals consist of metals like copper, aluminium and precious metals like silver, gold, platinum, palladium and so on. The presence of elements like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, hexavalent chromium, and flame retardants beyond threshold quantities make e-waste hazardous in nature. It contains over 1000 different substances, many of which are toxic, and creates serious pollution upon disposal. Obsolete computers pose the most significant environmental and health hazard among the e-wastes.

There are 10 States that contribute to 70 per cent of the total e-waste generated in the country, while 65 cities generate more than 60 per cent of the total e-waste in India. Among the 10 largest e-waste generating States, Maharashtra ranks first followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Among the top ten cities generating e-waste, Mumbai ranks first followed by Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat and Nagpur.


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