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Violet N. Pinto

Department of ar Medicine, Dr. D.Y. Patil medical College and also Hospital, Nerul, Navi Mumbai-400 706, India

Department of neighborhood Medicine, Dr. D.Y. Patil clinical College and Hospital, Nerul, Navi Mumbai-400 706, India
For correspondence: 3, ‘Ave’, 1st Floor, Plot 188, roadway 33A, Wadala, Mumbai-400 031, India. E-mail: moc.liamg
This is one open-access short article distributed under the regards to the creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, detailed the original work-related is correctly cited.

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Electronic rubbish or e-waste is one of the rapidly cultivation problems of the world. E-waste comprises that a multitude of components, part containing toxicity substances that deserve to have an adverse influence on human being health and the atmosphere if not taken on properly. In India, e-waste monitoring assumes greater significance not only because of the generation that its very own e-waste but also because that the dumping that e-waste from occurred countries. This is coupled v India"s absence of suitable infrastructure and also procedures for its disposal and recycling. This review article provides a concise synopsis of India"s current e-waste scenario, namely magnitude of the problem, environmental and health hazards, existing disposal and also recycling operations, existing legitimate framework, institutions working ~ above this issue and also recommendations because that action.

Keywords: E-waste, environmental hazard, occupational hazard


The manufacturing of electrical and electronic tools (EEE) is among the faster growing worldwide manufacturing activities. Rapid financial growth, coupled v urbanization and a farming demand for consumer goods, has increased both the consumption and the production of EEE.<1> The Indian information modern technology (IT) sector has been among the significant drivers of adjust in the economic climate in the critical decade and also has contributed substantially to the digital change being competent by the world. New electronic gadgets and also appliances have infiltrated every facet of our daily lives, giving our society with an ext comfort, health and also security and also with easy details acquisition and also exchange.<2> The knowledge culture however is developing its very own toxic footprints.

The very same hypertechnology that is hailed together a ‘crucial vector’ for future modern-day societal advance has a not-so-modern fence to it: electronic waste (e-waste).<3>

E-waste extensively covers waste from every electronic and also electrical appliances and also comprises of item such together computers, cell phone phones, digital music recorders/players, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions (TVs) and also many various other household customer items.<2>

The raising ‘market penetration’ in the developing countries, ‘replacement market’ in the emerged countries and ‘high obsolescence rate’ do e-waste one of the fastest rubbish streams.<4> This new kind of rubbish is posing a serious difficulty in disposal and also recycling come both developed and also developing countries. While having some the the world"s most progressed high-tech software and hardware occurring facilities, India"s recycling sector can be referred to as medieval.<3> The dumping the e-waste, particularly computer waste, right into India from emerged countries<5> (‘green passport’ follow to Gutierrez<6>), due to the fact that the latter uncover it convenient and also economical to export waste, has actually further complex the problems with garbage management.

All this has made e-waste monitoring an worry of environment and health concern.


Studies so far reveal that the total e-waste generation in India is roughly 1,46,000 tonnes<7–9> come 3.3 lakh tonnes a year and also is meant to touch 4.7 lakh tonnes by 2011.<10> ‘The projected growth for e-waste generation for India is about 34% year top top year’ says Sinha (Associate director of Toxics Link).<11>

Of the complete e-waste generated in the country, western India accounts because that the largest population at 35%, if the southern, northern and also eastern areas account for 30, 21 and also 14%, respectively. The peak states in order of highest possible contribution to waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) incorporate Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and also Punjab. The city-wise ranking that the largest WEEE generators is Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkatta, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat and Nagpur.<8>

Total WEEE generation in Maharashtra is 20,270.6 tonnes, of which Navi Mumbai contributes 646.48 tonnes, better Mumbai 11,017.06 tonnes, Pune 2584.21 tonnes and Pimpri-Chinchwad 1032.37 tonnes. An approximated 30,000 computers become obsolete annually from the IT sector in Bangalore alone.<8> house to an ext than 1200 foreign and domestic modern technology firms, Bangalore numbers prominently in the hazard list of cities confronted with e-waste hazard. As plenty of as 1000 tonnes the plastics, 300 tonnes the lead, 0.23 tonnes of mercury, 43 tonnes that nickel and 350 tonnes that copper are every year generated in Bangalore.<9> when on the communication of scrap taken on by the Delhi-based scrap dealers, your total variety of personal computer systems (PCs) supposed for dismantling would be roughly 15,000 every year. This number does not include PCs tackled by big dealers who acquire scraps from foreign sources.<12> Mumbai, the financial nerve-center the India, alone throws far 19,000 tonnes of digital waste a month, excluding the big e-waste the imports from emerged nations v its port.<11>

Besides the residential e-waste generated, an additional 50,000 MT a year is illegally imported right into the country.<10> In a solitary month, there is a reported situation of import of 30 MT the e-waste at the Ahmedabad port.<12>

While north India is no a top generator, it wake up to it is in the leading processing center of e-waste in the country. There are just two official recyclers in the south of India (at Chennai and also Bangalore) and also one in western India. Currently, there are no officially recyclers operating in the north or the east.<10,13> over 1 million poor people in India are involved in the manual recycling operations.<12> many of the people working in this recycling sector are the urban bad with an extremely low literacy levels and hence very little awareness regarding the dangers of e-waste toxins. There are a sizeable variety of women and also children who are involved in these activities and they are more vulnerable come the risks of this waste.<2> A an extensive study is yet to be made the the health problems of women and children to work by the scrap dealers.<14>

The key sources of computer usage and also thereby e-waste generations room the organization sector (government departments, windy or personal sector, multinational corporation offices, etc.), audit for 78% the the complete installed computers today. Other sources are individual family members (22%), foreign embassies, PC production units, computer retailers, an additional markets of old PCs and also imported electronic scrap of various other countries.<12>

The complying with three categories of WEEE account for practically 90% the the generation:<8>

Large household appliances: 42%,

Information and also communications technology equipment: 33.9% and

Consumer electronics: 13.7%.


Electronic rubbish or e-waste is the term provided to define old, end-of-life digital appliances such as computers, laptops, TVs, DVD players, mobile phones, mp3 players, etc., which have actually been disposed by their initial users.<8>

E-waste has actually been categorized into three main categories, i.e., large Household Appliances, IT and Telecom and Consumer Equipment. Refrigerator and also washing an equipment represent huge household appliances; PC, monitor and laptop represent IT and also Telecom, while TV represents customer Equipment.

Each of this e-waste items has actually been classified with respect to 26 usual components uncovered in them. These components type the ‘building blocks’ of each item and also therefore lock are easily ‘identifiable’ and also ‘removable.’ These contents are metal, motor/ compressor, cooling, plastic, insulation, glass, LCD, rubber, wiring/electrical, concrete, transformer, magnetron, textile, circuit board, fluorescent lamp, incandescent lamp, heating element, thermostat, brominated flamed retardant (BFR)-containing plastic, batteries, CFC/HCFC/HFC/HC, external electrical cables, refractory ceramic fibers, radioactive substances and also electrolyte capacitors (over L/D 25 mm).

The ingredient of WEEE/e-waste is very diverse and differs in products across different categories. It contains more than 1000 various substances, which autumn under ‘hazardous’ and also ‘non-hazardous’ categories. Broadly, it is composed of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, glass, wood and also plywood, printed circuit boards, concrete and ceramics, rubber and other items. Iron and also steel constitutes about 50% the the WEEE complied with by plastic (21%), non-ferrous steels (13%) and other constituents. Non-ferrous steels consist of steels like copper, aluminium and also precious metals, e.g. Silver, gold, platinum, palladium, etc. The existence of facets like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, selenium and hexavalent chromium and also flame retardants past threshold amounts in WEEE/e-waste classifies them as hazardous waste.<4>

The electronic and electrical goods are mostly classified under three significant heads, as: ‘white goods,’ making up of family members appliances choose air conditioners, dishwashers, refrigerators and also washing machines; ‘brown goods,’ consisting of of TVs, camcorders, cameras, etc.; ‘grey goods,’ choose computers, printers, fax machines, scanners, etc. The grey products are comparatively more complex to recycle because of their toxic composition.<2>


EEEs room made that a multitude the components, some containing toxicity substances that have an adverse influence on human being health and also the atmosphere if not handled properly. Often, these hazards arise as result of the wrong recycling and also disposal procedures used.<8> It deserve to have serious consequences for those in proximity to places where e-waste is recycled or burnt. Waste from the white and brown goods is less toxic as contrasted with grey goods. A computer contains highly toxic chemicals like lead, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, BFR, polyvinyl chloride and also phosphor compounds.<2>

Table 1: Environment and health hazards.

Computer/e-waste componentProcessPotential occupational hazardPotential ecological hazard
Cathode ray tubesBreaking, remove of copper yoke and also dumping


Cuts native CRT glass

Inhalation or call with phosphor containing cadmium or various other metals

Lead, barium and also other hefty metals leaching right into ground water and also release of toxic phosphor
Printer circuit boardsDesoldering and removing computer chips

Tin and also lead inhalation

Possible brominated dioxin, beryllium, cadmium and also mercury inhalation

Air emissions of the very same substances
Dismantled published circuit board processingOpen burn of garbage boardsToxicity of workers and adjacent residents rom tin, lead, brominated dioxin, beryllium, cadmium and also mercury inhalationTin and lead air pollution of prompt environment, consisting of surface and ground waters, brominated dioxins, beryllium, cadmium and mercury inhalation
Chips and other gold-plated compoundsChemical stripping using nitric and also hydrochloric acid along riverbanks

Acid contact with eyes, skin may an outcome in irreversible injury

Inhalation if mists and also fumes that acids, chlorine and sulfur dioxide gases can reason respiratory wake up to severe effects, consisting of pulmonary edema, circulatory failure and death

Hydrocarbons, hefty metals, brominated building material etc. Discharged directly into river and banks.

Acidifies the river damaging fish and also flora

Plastics from the computer and also peripheralsShredding and also low-temperature meltingProbable hydrocarbon, brominated dioxin and also PAH exposure to employees living in the burning functions areaEmission that brominated dioxins and heavy metals and also hydrocarbons
Secondary stole or copper and also precious metal smeltingFurnace recovers stole or copper native wasteExposure come dioxins and also heavy metalsEmission that dioxins and also heavy metals
WiresOpen burn to recuperate copperBrominated and chlorinated dioxin and PAH exposure to employees living in the burning functions areaHydrocarbon and ashes, consisting of PAHs discharged right into air, water and soil


Draft Hazardous materials (Management, Handling and Transboundary movement) Rules, 2007 (dated: September 28, 2007), component of the environment Protection Act, 1986.

India is a signatory to the Basal Convention. (Basel Convention is the joined Nations setting Programme) ~ above the control of Transboundary motion of Hazardous wastes and also their disposal.

There is no plan on e-waste, back some parts of computer systems could be thought about as hazardous waste.

1. Knowledge bank for e-waste monitoring in India.<21>

The Asia pro Ecoprogramme supported by the european Commission is devoted to the environmental performance in asian Economic sectors v the exchange of ecological policies, technologies and practices and to promote sustainable investment and trade in between the european Union Member States and also South Asia, South-East Asia and also China.

2. The E-waste Guide, India (

An plan of the Indo–German–Swiss cooperation it is draft to offer as an information resource on e-waste as well as a common collaborative occupational platform because that stakeholders.

3. National Solid Waste combination of India (NSWAI) (

A leading professional non-profit company in the field of solid-waste management, consisting of toxic and also hazardous waste and additionally biomedical waste in India. The was created in 1996. Its missions include advancement of solid-waste management as a profession, research and also development, advance of expertise, standards and goods methods with regards come solid-waste management. Several of the rather include innovation in legislation and creating awareness and community involvement.

4. Toxics link (

A Delhi-based atmosphere activist team with a mission of functioning for ecological justice and freedom from toxics. The is also actively involved in producing public awareness ~ above environmental problems through publications, reports, articles and also environment news bulletins besides organizing miscellaneous events.

5. Others space stEP Workweb, WEEE Forum, Clean India, Indian environmental Society, INDIA HABITAT CENTRE and Microbial Biotechnology Area the Tata energy Research Institute.

1. Silicon valley Toxics Coalition

Formed in 1982, located in san Jose, California, that is a diverse grassroots coalition the engages in research and advocacy and is organized about the environmental and also human health difficulties caused through the rapid expansion of the high-tech electronics industry. The Coalition has constructed a united campaign of allies, including community residents, consumers, electronics and technology workers and government policy makers to advanced the eco-friendly consciousness and performance that the high-tech sector.

2. The Basel activity Network (BAN)

A worldwide network of toxics and development activist institutions that re-publishing a vision that international ecological justice. The network looks for to prevent all creates of ‘toxic trade’ – in toxicity wastes, toxicity products and also toxic technologies. It works to stop the globalization the the toxic chemical crisis. Half is administered by the Secretariat services of the Asia-Pacific eco-friendly Exchange (APEX) based in Seattle, Washington, USA. APEX is an activity of the Tides Centre.

3. Others are the worldwide Solid waste Association, heavy Waste combination of phibìc America, ecological Protection Agency, etc.


1. Technological interventions<2,7,13,22,23>

Product design and also engineering interventions

The equipment for the e-waste dilemm lies in ‘prevention at the production source’ or the ‘precautionary principle.’ This can be excellent by employing waste minimization techniques and also by a sustainable product design.

Waste minimization in industries entails adopting:

Inventory management

Production procedure modification

Volume reduction

Recovery and reuse

Sustainable product design involves:

Rethinking on actions of making the product (flat computers)

Use that renewable material and energy

Creating electronic components and also peripherals that biodegradable material

Looking in ~ a environment-friendly packaging option

Utilizing a minimum packaging material

Extended Producer duty is considered one the the most proper frameworks that amalgamates all the enlisted values on eco-friendly justice. This move the duty of safe disposal ~ above the producers. It promotes sound environmental modern technology and also intends at better raw material, cleaner production an innovation and making for longevity.

Restructuring recycling:

Some recycling measures require improvements, up-gradation (both in an abilities and technologies) and also some need to be abandoned altogether as result of severe risks for health and the environment.

2. Policy-level interventions

Clear an interpretation of e-waste because that regulation.

Import and export regulatory regime.

An incorporated IT waste monitoring policy

Lack of clarity on the issue of e-waste and also the inability of current hazardous waste rules to govern and also effectively screen the e-waste recycling are few of the prime factors for experts and members that civil culture demanding a separate set of rules to guide and also control these processes.<24>

Take earlier policies

Producers must be responsible because that the whole lifecycle of your products. In arisen countries, several efforts have been made on this front. Numerous dozen urban in the says of California and Massachusettes, consisting of San Francisco, additionally have passed resolutions supporting ‘producer take it back’ rules. Wipro Infotech has actually launched one e-waste disposal company for end customers. Others providing recycling choices include Dell (, HP ( and Apple (<25>

3. Implementation and capacity building

Legislation because that collection, recycling and also disposal.

Institutional capacity building.

Formalizing the informal recycling sector.

3.1 Technical benefit of processes development (restructuring recycling)

At Ash Recyclers, one of just two authorized recycling tree in Bangalore, hazardous steels are safely extract at a unique plant and everything rather – under to the tricks – is recycled.<9>

3.2 safety protocol for employees in e-waste disposal

Workers are offered formally recognized tasks where they can use an abilities and whereby occupational wellness safety (information around their occupation-related wellness hazards involved and self protection, security gear and also equipment and periodic medical checkups) is assured.

Bilateral and also multilateral cooperation

4. Awareness building

The current awareness about the existence and dangers of e-waste are exceptionally low, partly due to the fact that the e-waste being created is no as huge as in arisen countries. Urgent measures are required to attend to this issue.

The function of citizens in e-waste administration include:

Donating electronics for reuse, which extends the stays of an useful products and also keeps them the end of the waste monitoring system because that a lengthy time.

While buying electronic products, opting because that those that space made through fewer toxic constituents, use recycled content, are power efficient, are designed for easy upgrading or disassembly, use minimal packaging and offer leasing or take ago options.

Building of consumer awareness with public awareness campaigns is a an essential point that deserve to attribute come a brand-new responsible kind of consumerism.

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India is inserted in a really interesting position. The require of the hour is an urgent technique to the e-waste danger by technical and also policy-level interventions, implementation and capacity building and also increase in publicly awareness such the it can convert this difficulty into an opportunity to show the world that India is prepared to deal with future problems and also can set global credible standards concerning environmental and also occupational health.