Bengaluru may bear the ‘Silicon City’ tag with pride, but it is also heading to a major disaster with most of the 2 lakh tonnes of e-waste generated annually not being disposed of properly. The city is the third largest generator of e-waste and one of the fastest growing waste streams in the country.
“No scientific procedure is followed to dispose of the e-waste in the city and even the recycling is informal. Both the dismantling and recycling sector for e-waste is still in a very nascent stage in the city. Authorities concerned should deal with this issue soon,” said Annie Philip, legal manager at Saahas Zero Waste.
E-waste, which constitutes all the electronic waste, is specially collected along with dry waste by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Various NGO’s and private companies have also created e-waste collection centres and mobile collection vehicles to prevent them from reaching the landfills.
Ninety percent of the 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 indicated that local waste collectors simply do not pick up e-waste, as confirmed by 72% of respondents.
The e-Waste survey conducted jointly by 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, people in Bengaluru and Hyderabad were the most likely to give them to e-waste collectors for free.
Saahas Zero waste has installed e-waste drop boxes in select Bangalore One centres in the city which are secure, easily accessible to the public and are open on all seven days of the week to dispose of the e-waste.
E-waste generation in India is projected to touch three million tonnes by the end of 2018. Industries contribute about 70%, while domestic households make up 15%.
The rest comes from discarded, ‘end of life’ electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Studies show India is one of the fastest growing consumers of EEE.