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, 12 (1), 36

Electronic Waste - An Emerging Threat to the Environment of Urban India


Electronic Waste - An Emerging Threat to the Environment of Urban India

Santhanam Needhidasan et al. J Environ Health Sci Eng.


Electronic waste or e-waste is one of the emerging problems in developed and developing countries worldwide. It comprises of a multitude of components with valuable materials, some containing toxic substances, that can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment. Previous studies show that India has generated 0.4 million tons of e-waste in 2010 which may increase to 0.5 to 0.6 million tons by 2013-2014. Coupled with lack of appropriate infrastructural facilities and procedures for its disposal and recycling have posed significant importance for e-waste management in India. In general, e-waste is generated through recycling of e-waste and also from dumping of these wastes from other countries. More of these wastes are ending up in dumping yards and recycling centers, posing a new challenge to the environment and policy makers as well. In general electronic gadgets are meant to make our lives happier and simpler, but the toxicity it contains, their disposal and recycling becomes a health nightmare. Most of the users are unaware of the potential negative impact of rapidly increasing use of computers, monitors, and televisions. This review article provides a concise overview of India's current e-waste scenario, namely magnitude of the problem, environmental and health hazards, current disposal, recycling operations and mechanisms to improve the condition for better environment.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Usage of PCs for every 1000 persons.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Major Indian ports receiving E-waste.
Figure 3
Figure 3
E-waste recycling units in India. (a): E-waste dealer sorting through waste in Chennai. (b): Children recycling toxic e-waste with their bare hands, Delhi. (c): Children extract copper from discarded computer parts. New Delhi. (d): Women working in recycling toxic e-waste with their bare hands.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Personal computer material composition.

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