The Colossal Problem with Increasing E-waste
Ramesh Chaurasia-The Colossal Problem with Increasing E-waste
As development continues to take place at a very fast pace in the field of science and technology, new electronic devices are also emerging. From computers and mobile phones to refrigerators and televisions, when the lifecycle of these electronic devices comes to an end, they are discarded as they become useless. This constitutes what we call e-waste or electronic waste.
It has been found that 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were thrown away in the year 2019 all over the globe. And the problem becomes even more serious and concerning when the e-waste that is produced is not disposed off safely. A report came recently that e-waste is set to rise by 38% in one decade between 2020 and 2030. This made environmentalists including me more worried. The time has arrived for the world to open its eyes to the concerns of this exponential rise in the volumes of e-waste.
The dangers of e-waste on air, water, and soil
E-waste poses a grave threat to the environment and consequently to the health of living beings. Although people who are directly working with e-waste disposal and those who live nearby are more vulnerable to its dangers, a large section of the population also bears its effects indirectly through contaminated water, air and crops. Let us dive deep into the harmful effects of e-waste on the various aspects of the environment.
There are toxic materials like lead, chromium, cadmium, mercury, and polybrominated biphenyls present in the e-waste. When they are disposed of by shredding or melting, toxins are released into the atmosphere, thus causing irreversible pollution. This hazardous air is a major cause of chronic and fatal respiratory diseases.
When tons of e-waste is dumped in landfills, there is a persistent risk of the seeping of the toxic elements into the soil, thus contaminating not only the soil but groundwater as well. The toxins even get accumulated in the crops and as a result, cause health concerns in those who feed on them. The dangers of e-waste do not end here. The toxic metals find their way to the water bodies, thus affecting marine and freshwater organisms.
Current status of e-waste management in India
Developing countries like India face more challenges of e-waste because many developed countries ship their e-waste to the developing countries and the developing countries are also not equipped with the technology required for its safe disposal. In India, there are 312 recyclers authorized for e-waste and they have the capacity to treat 800-kilo tons of e-waste annually. However, a huge segment of the e-waste is still managed by the unorganized sector.
Measures for the way forward
There are many strategies coming to the scene for the management of e-waste. These include:-
Extended Producer Responsibility: This means that the producers are responsible for the disposal and recycling of products once they are no longer in use. This e-waste management strategy has been proven incredibly efficient in the countries where it was implemented.
Design for environment: It refers to the process of minimizing the adverse effects that the products will have on the environment while developing them.
Circular Economy: Adopting a circular economy approach to e-waste management can prove of great help in its proper management.
The skyrocketing volumes of e-waste and the dangers associated with dumping them in landfills or burning them require immediate action. It is important that the unorganized and the organized sectors are integrated. A step-by-step comprehensive and structured mechanism should be developed for the safe and sustainable management of e-waste and efforts should be made to make the technological means available.
Apart from these measures and strategies, producers should increase the life of the electronic gadgets and consumers should be encouraged to not discard them when they can be further used.
Also Read:- Latest news about Ramesh Chaurasia
A superior and highly experienced entrepreneur in the field of business for quite a long time now. Also, a philanthropist, author and public speaker who believes in working towards the overall well being and betterment of the society as a whole.