October 28, 2009

India Dealing With Growing Amount Of E-Waste

India is struggling to determine how to manage a growing amount of electronic waste each year, according to green group Toxic Link.

During a two-day International Conference on Heavy Metals and E-waste in New Delhi this week, Priti Mahesh, senior program officer of Toxic Link said e-waste is a "major problem and growing at the rate of 10 to 15 percent annually."

"We think by 2010, the e-waste in India will go up to 800,000 tons," said Mahesh.

With just six regular recycling facilities, India has only an annual recycling capacity of 27,000 tons, according to pollution control officials.

"The unmitigated use of heavy metals and toxics has a long-standing and far-reaching impact on the planet. It impacts our environment and human health directly. Sustainable and safe alternatives need to replace these dangerous chemicals immediately to safeguard the planet", said Ravi Agarwal, Director of Toxic Link.

The group also found that as workers with bare hands dissemble e-waste, many of them become exposed to dangerous metals such as barium, lead, copper and cadmium.

"It's already a problem and on its way to becoming worse because 97 percent of waste gets recycled in hazardous conditions," said Mahesh.

According to AFP, S. Saroj, a federal environment ministry official, said Indian government officials would be introducing new legislation to cut the imports of e-waste and improve recycling facilities.

"The draft law will be ready in the next four to six months," she said.


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