Garage recyclers of e-waste are the new threat

Violating norm, they treat e-waste as scrap; No one knows where Government e-waste goes

Garage recyclers of e-waste are the new threat

E-waste piled up in the shop of a scrap dealer.
Obnoxious gases like oxides of nitrogen and sulphur are released in the air while the unorganised sector recycle the e-waste, says Prof Keshav Bulbule involved in the survey conducted by India’s first e-waste recycling unit E-Parisaraa.

Other poisonous gases are released in air when they recover gold using mercury. Later, they discharge effluents in water bodies. They don’t adopt chemical method for recycling. Such pollution leads to health disorders, especially respiratory disorders, survey disclosed.

“There is a big trading chain of backyard practitioners (also known as informal / unorganised e-waste recyclers) of e-waste. There is a unholy nexus between government officers, e-waste suppliers and backyard practioners. They flout norms  and indulge in recycling process at the cost of environment, eco system, pure soil and water,” says E-Parisaraa director P Parthasarathy.  The City has approximately 4,000 backyard practioners who operate in small, ill-ventilated and congested rooms, claiming to be scrap dealers. Till recently, Goripalya near Mysore Road was the centre of informal recycling but now the trade has spread out to areas like Shivajinagar, Frazer Town, DJ Halli, KG Halli, Tannery Road and Bommanahalli to evade monitoring by environmental organisations and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

There only three authorised E-waste recycling units in the State-all in Bangalore. “There is huge quantity of E-waste with the government departments. No one knows where e-waste generated by government offices goes as none of the three units receive any,” says Parthasarathy.

About 11,000 tonnes of e-waste is generated by non-household sources (computers, mouses, etc), while about 18 kg e-waste is generated by every individual (refrigerators, fans, etc) belonging to middle-class a year. Around 54,000 tonnes of such is generated by middle class alone in a year.

Informal recyclers buy e-waste through brokers, in violation of the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s norm which says e-waste generated by any source should go to authorised recyclers.

About 95 per cent of the e-waste is recycled by the backyard practioners, while authorised recyclers recycle the rest. Authorised recyclers follow eco-friendly methods, recycle metals and put them back in cycle.

Brain teasers, campaigns to create awareness

It is the 40th anniversary of the World Earth Day on Thursday. Many IT companies in Bangalore City are celebrating the Day to spread awareness on environmental issues. Cisco is hosting awareness sessions on rain water harvesting, organic farming and wildlife conservation.  It is also initiating a global campaign, ‘Think Green, Act Green Pledge’ for Cisco employees this year. For every pledge made from April 19 to May 2, Cisco will donate $1 (up to a maximum donation of $10,000) to water.org -  committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation in developing countries.

Yahoo! plans to educate people by providing ‘brain teasers’ such  as ‘why do ladybugs have spots?’ It will also be tracking the most popular 'green' searches, to know what environmental issues are on people's mind this Earth Day.

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