E-waste disposed through untested local vendors: Survey

E-waste disposed through untested local vendors: Survey


photo for representation only.

Ninety per cent of citizens are forced to dispose of their e-waste through online exchanges or local electronic vendors, often without knowing where it eventually ends up. 

A nationwide survey which revealed this also indicated why this is so: Local waste collectors simply do not pick up e-waste, as confirmed by 72% of the respondents. 

The E-Waste Survey, conducted jointly by the Manufacturers Association of Information and Technology (MAIT) and Cerebra Green, found that eight out of 10 Indians are aware of e-waste. But 50% of them hoard unusable devices for up to five years.

However, Bengalureans and Hyderabadis were the most likely to give the material to e-waste collectors for free. 

The tendency to never dispose of certain household electronic goods came to the fore clearly. A high 82% of the respondents had never disposed of their white goods such as refrigerator, air conditioner or microwave through a local waste collector. 

Half of the respondents had their old, unused devices safely kept at home for more than five years. Another 28% had stuff that was three to four years old. 

Exchanging old electronic stuff online at the time of a new purchase was the preferred choice for 47% of the respondents. Only 43% gave it to the local electronic vendors and 10% of the brand outlets.

But the survey showed a disturbing trend: “Citizens tend to dispose of e-waste through incorrect means due to a lack of alternative avenues.” 

However, there was also a silver lining: Eighty-two per cent of those surveyed were clear that they would be extremely willing to give away their e-waste to collectors for free. Their condition: the waste had to be properly handled and processed without causing environmental pollution. 

The survey analysed responses from 600 individuals across Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune. The objective was to gauge their awareness around e-waste and its management and to study their disposal habits. 

E-waste generation in India is projected to touch three million tonnes by the end of 2018. Industries contribute about 70% of this waste, while domestic households make up 15%. The rest comes from discarded, ‘end of life’ electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Studies have indicated that globally, India is one of the fastest growing consumers of EEE. 

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