E waste – Electronic waste major pollutants

‘Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal are also considered e-waste.

  • Used in glass panels & gaskets in computer monitors
  • Used in soldering in printed circuit boards & other components
  • Attacks nervous system, Kidneys & reproduction system & endocrine gland
  • Impedes Brain development among children
  • Used in thermostat sensors, relays, switches, medical equipment, mobile phones, lamps & in batteries
  • Now a days also used in flat panel displays replacing cathode tubes
  • It is estimated that 22% of yearly world consumption of mercury is used in electrical & electronic equipment
  • Cause damage to brain, kidneys & foetus (Developing foetus is highly vulnerable to mercury exposure)
  • When spread in water forms methyl mercury, which bio accumulates through food chain & spread minamata disease
  • Major Sources – Burning coal, Batteries, Thermometer, Barometer, Electric switches and relays, Cosmetics & pharmaceuticals, Lamps & dental amalgam
Chromium VI
  • Used as corrosion protector of untreated & galvanised steel plates & as a hardner for steel housing plastics including PVC
  • Largest volume of plastics (26%) used in electronics is PVC, used as cables & in housing computers (Dioxin & Furan is released when PVC is burned – Highly carcinogenic & toxic)
  • Chromium VI can cause damage to DNA
  • Occurs in SMD chip resistors, infra-red detectors & semiconductor chips
  • Some older cathode ray tubes also contain cadmium
  • Accumulates in body, especially in kidneys
Brominated Flame Retardant
  • Used in plastic housing of electronic equipment & in circuit boards to prevent flammability
  • A soft silvery white metal, used in computers in front panel of CRT, to protect users from radiation
  • Exposure to barium can cause brain swelling, muscle weakness, damage to heart, spleen & liver
  • Commonly found on motherboards & finger clips
  • Used as a copper beryllium alloy to strengthen connectors & tinyplugs while maintaining electrical conductivity
  • Exposure can cause lung cancer, skin diseases as poor wound healing & wart like bumps
  • Found in plastic printer cartridges, containing black & printed toners
  • Contains heavy metals & causes respiratory problems
  • An inorganic chemical compound applied as a coat on interior of CRT plates
  • Phosphor coating on cathode ray tubes contain heavy metals such as cadmium & other rare earth metals (Zinc, vanadium etc.)
  • Serious hazard for those who dismantle CRT by hands

electronic waste

E Waste Recycling

  • So far, throw money & ship to developing country to dump
  • ewaste has been shipped to developing countries where this poses dangers as it is handled by informal sector.

(Management, Handling and Trans Boundary Movement) Rules, 2008

  • Import of such wastes for disposal is not permitted except for recycling by the registered units only and with the permission of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and/or Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
  • For effective implementation of provisions related to import and export, a coordination committee including representatives from revenue department, DGFT, ministry of shipping, Central Pollution Control Board has been constituted.
  • This committee has been working to sensitize the customs authorities regarding enforcement of these rules in order to check illegal import of ewaste into the country.

(Management and Handling) Rules, 2011

  • The concept of extended producer responsibility has been enshrined in these rules to make it a mandatory activity for the manufacturers of electronic and electrical equipments.
  • Under this the producers are responsible for collection of ewaste generated from the end of life of their products by setting up collection centers. The concept originated in Switzerland
  • Ewaste recycling can be undertaken only in authorized facilities. Government has started a scheme to provide financial assistance for setting up of treatment plants in PPP mode.
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017

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