Electronic waste in homes – uttamhindu.com

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The increasing electronic waste in homes is going to become a big challenge in front of the world, which is struggling with the problem of garbage from mountains to rivers and seas. Other electronic equipment including smart phones and laptops are turning into waste due to lying idle in the houses and the possibility of leakage of dangerous e-waste due to the pressing of this waste in the earth further increases the concern.

According to the report of the survey conducted by the Indian Cellular and Electronic Association, 40 percent of the participants admitted that they have at least four devices, including mobiles and laptops, which have been lying around for years. There are three main reasons behind this behavior of consumers: lack of good economic incentives, personal attachment to devices as people do not want to give them up due to too much personal data, and lack of awareness. Surveys show that two out of five consumers refuse to give discarded equipment for recycling. They don’t even know how important recycling is. The report says that the number of devices in use in FY21 (1 laptop for every 15 mobile phones) was around 515 million. But 7.5 crore were also lying idle. In this way the number becomes 20.6 crores. Experts say that this number will only increase in the coming years. Recycling of electronic equipment is done mainly through two routes – through informal scrap dealers and through wholesale scrap dealers. Scrap dealers operating in the informal sector collect discarded equipment from consumers’ homes, while scrap wholesalers operating in the formal sector work closely with the respective brands. About 90 per cent of discarded mobile phones from consumers’ homes go through informal scrap dealers. When it comes to actual recycling, 70 percent of equipment comes through the informal sector, while 22 percent goes through organized companies. 2% of the equipment is used to remove parts, but this takes time. The rest is dumped underground, where hazardous e-waste is prone to seepage. About 60 per cent of equipment in need of repair is dumped into the cheap informal sector, the report said. This includes mobile phones etc. that have expired under warranty. Only 18 percent of consumers in this market get their appliances repaired through organized companies.

The growing electronic threat in the homes of Indians is a matter of concern from the environmental point of view. When e-waste seeps out due to being buried in the earth, the situation turns from bad to worse. The government should immediately take concrete steps to dispose and recycle e-waste. There is a need to make the general public aware by campaigning about the harm caused by e-waste at the social and personal level.

– Irwin Khanna (Chief Editor, Dainik Uttam Hindu)

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