In the 21st Century, the information and communication revolution has brought remarkable changes in the way we organize our lives. The development in communication and technology in India has a great impact onour economy, industries and life style of people. Initially, we dealt with record players, radios, VCRs and black-and-white televisions; followed by CD and DVD. Air conditioners, air coolers, cellular phones, refrigerators, computers, laptops, power bank and many other gadgets arrived in the Indian market and in the hands of common man. Electronics have become part of the throw away culture of developed countries. This is not an exception even in the developing countries. Electronic gadgets are meant to make our lives comfortable, happier and simpler, but they contain poisonous toxic substances, their disposal and recycling becomes a health nightmare. These have led to various problems including the problem of huge amount of hazardous waste and other wastes generated from electric products. Over the past two decades, the global market of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) continues to grow exponentially, while the life span of those products becomes shorter and shorter. Due to Rapid economic growth, urbanization and industrialisation, demand for consumer goods, has been increased for both the consumption and the production of EEE. Any improperly disposed electronics can be classified as E-waste. E-waste basically comprises electronic goods that are not fit for their original use.
Involvement of stakeholders in E waste generations
There are a number of stakeholders involved in the procedure of making of E waste. According to UNEP (2007), some of the major stakeholders, identified along with the flow include importers, producers/manufacturers, retailers (businesses/ government/others), consumers (individual households, businesses, government and others), traders, scrap dealers, dissemblers/dismantlers, smelters and recyclers. The various stakeholders involved in the E-waste generation are described below.
1. Manufacturers and Retailers
Electronics is one of the greatest growing manufacturing industries in India. The new electric and electronic equipment have influenced all aspects of our daily life providing us more comfort, health and security. The technological development has also given diverse opportunities to human being. As the electronic goods have more sensibly priced, the volume of electronics in society has increased.
The E-waste creation by the manufacturers and retailers include the products that fail excellence tests. It also includes the products that are in the guarantee stage as replacement items whenever such replacement happens, the replaced product end up as E-waste. Sometimes the parts for electronic and electrical items produced during the manufacturing of EEE, ends up as the E-waste stream produced by manufacturer or retailer. For example, in the case of computers, E-waste generated from this sector comprises defective IC chips, motherboards, CRTs, other peripheral items produced during the production process.
E-waste import by some of the developing countries like China and India is a major concern. Over the last few decades, India has become a huge destination for Ewaste exports from the developed nations. Major volume of E-waste like monitors, printers, keyboards, CPUs, typewriters, projectors, mobile phones, PVC wires, etc are imported to India from OECD countries in the names of charitable or reusable items.
3. IT Industries
IT companies are generators of largest E-waste. IT industries that provide IT services wholly depend on the functioning of ICT and hence a big number of ICT equipment required in these industries. At the same time, hardware are very frequently replaced in this sector because of the introduction of newer and customized versioned software periodically as the corporation always prefers the most recent software. Most of the times, old hardware are not supporting new software. The average life of computers in the IT sector is of four to five years only and therefore there is need for replacement resulting in to E waste.
4. Public and private sector, government departments, corporate and business establishments
The business sector (government departments, public or private sector, MNC offices, etc.) were the initial users of IT and IT products. Today they demands for a sizable amount of total installed ICT equipment. Similar to the IT sector, the incompatibility of old and outdated systems to provide for the present wants and requirements prompts them to pass the obsolete electrical and electronic equipment to dismantlers/recyclers, who choose these items based on auction or other standard trade practices.
5 Individual households
Individual households put in the smallest proportion to the E-waste generation. However, it is rising today. People are paying attention to the EEEs with new and customized feature. With the gorgeous and smart discount and exchange offers in the most of Indian cities (which are advertised in the local newspapers, local TV channels and other media), people are buying more EEEs.
6. Traders/scrap dealers/dissemblers/dismantlers
They are incredibly important agents in relation to E-waste. These stakeholders are accountable for handling of E-waste inward from other stakeholders like importers, producers or manufacturers, retailers, consumers similar to individual households, businesses, government, etc. Scrap dealer or “kabadiwalas” in India are liable for collecting the E-waste. After securing E-waste from diverse sources, scrap dealers choose which item ought to be dismantled and which to be taken for resale. This choice is based on the resale of second hand products. The WEEE/ E-waste article/components which are not to be resold, locate their way to the store houses for dismantling. E-waste generated by these stakeholders includes all the peripheral electronic and electrical components produced during dissembling and dismantling actions.
Recycling action is a key concern for the developing countries including India as mainly such actions are carried in the informal sector with a lot environmental, industrial and human health hazards. Usually, these stakeholders are not concentrated in a single place, but spread over diverse areas. The universal practices observed in case of recycling in developing countries are open roasting, smelting and acid bath in similar sector to recover different metals.
These stakeholders plays important role in administering the E-waste and have negligible role in the generation of E-waste.
Categories of Electrical and Electronics Waste
|Large Household Appliances||Refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, cloth dryers, microwaves, heating appliances, radiators, fanning/ exhaust ventilation/conditioning equipment.|
|Small Household Appliances||Vacuum cleaners, other cleaners, sewing/knitting/ weaving textile appliances, toasters, fryers, pressing iron, grinders, opening/sealing/ packaging appliances, knives, hair cutting/drying/shaving devices, clocks, watches|
|IT and Telecommunication Equipment||Mainframes, microcomputers, printers, PC (desktop, notebooks, laptops), photocopiers, typewriters, fax/telex equipment, telephones|
|Consumer Equipment||Radio and TV sets, video cameras/decoders, Hi-fi recorder, audio amplifiers, musical instruments|
|Lighting Equipment||Luminaires for fluorescent lamps, low pressure sodium lamps|
|Electrical and Electronic Tools (excluding largescale industrial tools)||Drills, saws, sewing machines, turning/milling/sanding/sawing/cutting/shearing/drilling/punching/ folding/bendingequipment, riveting/nailing/screwingtools,welding/soldering tools, spraying/spreading/dispersing tools|
|Toys, Leisure and Sports Equipment||Electric trains, car racing sets, video games, sports equipment, coin slot machines, biking/diving/running/rowing computers|
|Medical Devices||Devices for radiotherapy/cardiology/ dialysis, ventilators, analysers, freezers, fertilization tests, detecting/preventing/monitoring/treating/alleviating illness, injury or disability.|
|Monitoring and Control
|Smoke detectors, heating regulators, thermostats, measuring/weighing/ adjusting appliances for household or laboratory use, other industrial monitoring and control instruments|
|Automatic Dispensers||for hot drinks, hot or cold bottles/cans, solid, products, money, and all kinds of products|
E Wast Recycling Technologies
In most of countries following recycling technologies are used for disposal of E-waste.
1. Detoxication The Detoxication procedure includes removal of critical components from the E-waste in order to stay away from dilution with toxic substancesin the downstream processes. Critical components include lead glass, CFC gases, light bulbs and batteries.
2. Shredding It is a Mechanical processing for handling of E-waste. Typical components of a mechanical processing plant are crushing units, shredders, magnetic air-separators. The gas emissions are filtered and effluents are treated to reduce environmental impact.
3. Refining Refining of resources in E-waste is the most popular and the technical solutions to get back raw with least environmental crash. Most of the fractions requirebeingsophisticated or conditioned in order to be sold as secondary raw materials or to be disposed off inending disposal site. During the refining process, three types of materials are important: Metals, plastics and glass.
4. Incineration Incineration is the procedure of destroying waste through burning. Because of the diversity of substances originate in E-waste, burning is associated with a major risk of generating and dispersing toxic substances. The gases released in the burning and the remains ash is often toxic. Incineration also leads to the loss of precioustrace elements which could have been recovered if they had been sorted and processed individually.
5. Landfilling Land filling is commonly used methods of waste disposal. it is universal fact that all landfills leak. It contains heavy metals and other toxic substances which can pollute ground and water resources. Even state-of-the-art landfills which are sealed to avoid toxins from entering the ground are not fully tight in the long-term. Older landfill sites and uncontrolled dumps pose a much bigger danger of releasing dangerous emissions.When brominates flame retarded plastics or plastics containing cadmium are landfilled, both PBDE and cadmium may leach into soil and groundwater.
Important impact from landfilling could be avoided by conditioning dangerous materials from E-wasteindividually and by landfilling only those fractions for which there are no more recycling possibilities and make sure that they are in state-of-the-art landfills that respect environmentally sound technical principles.
6. Reuse Many aged products are exported to developing countries. Although the profit of reusing electronics in this way is clear, this exercise is causing serious trouble because the aged products are dumped after a short period of use.
7. Recycle Although recycling can be anexcellent way to reuse the raw materials in a product, the dangerous chemicals in the recycling yards, as well as their neighbouring communities and environment.Plastics from E-waste are not recycled to avoid brominated furans and dioxins being released into the atmosphere. In developing countries however, there are no such controls. Recycling is done by hand in scrap yards, commonly by children.
8. Export E-waste is normally exported by developed countries to developing ones, repeatedly avoiding the international law. The E- waste composed for recycling is being exported by UK & US to India, Africa and China.
For citing this article, use:
- Patel, B. N. (2017). E waste management Issues and practices _A study with reference to Maharashtra.