Bangalore is a global hub for telecommunications and IT. The city outskirts are also the host to one of India's largest electronic industrial parks which is spread over 332 acres and produces over 20,000 tonnes of electronic waste every year.
The concentration of the IT companies in Bangalore, the growing Electronic industry and the development of the country directly related to dependence on the electronic goods has led to the growing e-waste stack in India, not to mention the electronic waste that ends up in the country from other parts of the world.
The average lifespan of some electric appliances, like computers, estimated to be 3-5 years, it’s little wonder landfill areas are clogged with discarded electronics creating an e-waste hub, terming the city as the ‘Garbage City’.
A mere 10 percent of the e-waste is disposed using proper recycling methods with the remainder ending up in scrap yards that lack proper knowledge and processes for recycling electronic waste, also termed as the informal sector scrap yards. Even though there have been numerous recycling systems set up, a lack of technology and know how means that the proper re-use of the electronic components is still missing in India. Inconsistent labour laws have helped develop a trend whereby cheap labour is employed to process and incinerate e-waste manually.
Times of India points out that the government has missed an opportunity to benefit financially from establishing a processing unit - but it's not too late to act on this. While the initial investment is high, it would no doubt pay for itself in the long run.
RESET’s earlier article, “E-Waste: A Burden on Human Health and our Ecosystem alike” pointed out that the health hazards that people who dismantle or recycle e-waste are exposed to are devastating, and often render them incapable of working once they reach the age of 40.
Lastly, a second thought should always be given to maximising the full worth of the electronic item and find a way to use it as long as possible. If you no longer need an appliance or gadget, ask around to see if someone else is interested in it or check out some of the online portals (Ebay, Olx, Quickr) for opportunities to sell your unwanted electronic goods via the internet.
Author: Ajay Pal Singh Chabba/ RESET editorial