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E-waste has been defined as "waste electrical and electronic equipments, whole or in part or rejects from their manufacturing and repair process, which are intended to be discarded".

E-waste comprises of wastes generated from used electronic devices and household appliances which are not fit for their original intended use and are destined for recovery, recycling or disposal. Such wastes encompasses wide range of electrical and electronic devices such as computers, hand held cellular phones, personal stereos, including large household appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners etc. E- wastes contain over 1000 different substances many of which are toxic and potentially hazardous to the environment and human health, if not handled in an environmentally sound manner.

E-waste according to the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2010, means waste electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part but not limited to equipment listed in Schedule 1 and scraps or rejects from their manufacturing and repair process, which is intended to be discarded.

Schedule 1, Categories of E-Waste

Source: MoEF&CC,GoI

Affects of E-Waste

  • E-waste has many hazardous components made up of chemicals and metal like, lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants, beryllium, antimony and phthalates.
  • Long-term exposure to these substances damages the nervous systems, kidney, bones, reproductive and endocrine systems. Some of them are carcinogenic or neurotoxic.
  • E-waste that is land filled produces contaminated leachates, which eventually pollute the groundwater and affects the environment.
  • Acids and sludge obtained from melting computer chips, if disposed on the ground ,cause acidification of soil, leading to contamination of water resources.
  • Incineration of e-wastes can emit toxic fumes and gases, thereby polluting the surrounding air.
  • Crude forms of dismantling can often lead to toxic emissions, which pollute the air.
  • The most dangerous form of recycling and recovery from e-waste is the open air burning of printed circuit boards (made of plastic) in order to recover copper and other metals.
  • Extraction of metals through acid bath method or through mercury amalgamation also contributes to environmental degradation.

Effects of E-Waste constituent on health

Source of e-wastes

Constituent

Health effects

Solder in printed circuit boards, glass panels and gaskets in computer monitors

Lead (PB)

  • Damage to central and peripheral nervous systems, blood systems and kidney damage.
  • Affects brain development of children.

Chip resistors and semiconductors

Cadmium (CD)

  • Toxic irreversible effects on human health.
  • Accumulates in kidney and liver.
  • Causes neural damage.
  • Teratogenic.

Relays and switches, printed circuit boards

Mercury (Hg)

  • Chronic damage to the brain.
  • Respiratory and skin disorders due to bioaccumulation in fishes.

Corrosion protection of untreated and galvanized steel plates, decorator or hardner for steel housings

Hexavalent chromium (Cr) VI

  • Asthmatic bronchitis.
  • DNA damage.

Cabling and computer housing

Plastics including PVC

Burning produces dioxin. It causes

  • Reproductive and developmental problems;
  • Immune system damage;
  • Interfere with regulatory hormones

Plastic housing of electronic equipments and circuit boards.

Brominated flame retardants (BFR)

  • Disrupts endocrine system functions

Front panel of CRTs

Barium (Ba)

Short term exposure causes:

  • Muscle weakness;
  • Damage to heart, liver and spleen.

Motherboard

Beryllium (Be)

  • Carcinogenic (lung cancer)
  • Inhalation of fumes and dust. Causes chronic beryllium disease or beryllicosis.
  • Skin diseases such as warts.

E-waste Management

  • E-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011 become effective recently in May, 2012.
  • PPCB outsourced data collection work on E-waste generation to SMS Envocare Ltd., New Delhi.
  • E-Waste generation upto 2012 was                :        11788 Tons.
  • E-Waste generation upto 2021 shall be           :        18216 Tons.  
  • PPCB organized E-Waste awareness campaign, which was attended by Universes , Colleges, Major Hospitals, Large & Medium Scale Industrial units/ Government organizations.
  • PPCB has authorized 14 collection center, 1 producer, 1 dismantler. 
  • The Board is taking up the matter with various stakeholders for providing e-waste dismantling or recycling facility in the State.
  • Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited (REEL) has already obtained authorization for dismantling/ refurbishing facility and has further proposed to set up Integrated E-Waste Management Facility at the existing location of TSDF, Nimbua.