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Recently, Delhi's civic body tied up with a private firm to collect and dispose of E-Wastes while the Bihar Government-authorized 142 E-Waste collection points in various districts. So, what is this E-Waste, and why is it important to collect and dispose it of?
What is E-Waste?
Electronic waste can be broadly described as discarded, surplus, obsolete, broken, electrical, or electronic devices. It includes all such waste from electronic and electrical appliances that have reached their end-of-life period or are unfit for their original intended use and are meant for recovery, recycling, or disposal. It could be a computer and its accessories like monitors, printers, keyboards, central processing units; typewriters, mobile phones and chargers, remotes, compact discs, headphones, batteries, LCD/Plasma TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other household appliances.
Categorized as hazardous and non-hazardous E-Waste includes ferrous and non-ferrous metals like copper, aluminum, silver, gold, platinum, palladium, etc., plastics, glass, wood, and plywood, printed circuit boards, concrete, ceramics, and rubber. It is the presence of elements like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, hexavalent chromium, and flame retardants that makes E-Waste risky. Containing over 1000 different substances, with several being highly toxic, E-Waste disposal creates serious pollution.
Quantum of E-Waste generation
The 2019 United Nations report states that the consumers discarded 44 million tonnes (MT) worth of electronics each year with only 20 percent recycled sustainably. India generates about 3 million tonnes annually and stands third among the E-Waste producing countries, after China and the US. An Assocham-EY report suggests that given this growth rate, the country will have 5 MT by 2021.
The rapid technological advancements and newer electronic products make consumers switch their existing models. This decreases the life cycle of these goods while exponentially increasing E-waste generation. Another factor this time is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which has kept people indoors resulting in higher usage of electronics goods.
While the mounting quantity of discarded E-Waste is overwhelming, its improper disposal is particularly worrisome. It usually reaches either the landfills or the unregulated markets. Summing this process in an article published in india.mongabay.com Ashley Delaney, Founder of Group TenPlus, a Goa company managing a collection of electronic waste said: "An ordinary circuit board from a mobile or laptop contains roughly 16 different metals. Most informal sectors will probably be able to retrieve a couple of metals and landfill the rest. Hazardous chemicals like mercury, which are used to extract these metals, leach into the soil, which will be damaged forever. If you find discarded batteries, tube lights, CFL bulbs, chances are the soil around them will be barren."
Increased quantities will result in the leaching of metal to reach everywhere, including food. E-Waste reaching oceans in large quantities contaminates water with gaseous or liquid toxins, which are not visible.
The extracted metals and plastics from E-Waste can be used to make more electronic goods. Sounds good, but the process is not easy. Metals are tough to extract as pointed out by a United Nations report It states that the total recovery rate for cobalt is 30 percent though the technology exists that could recycle 95 percent. Notably, the energy efficiency of recycled metals is two to 10 times more than metals smelted from virgin ore. So it makes sense to have effective reuse methods by ensuring a sustainable chain in manufacturing and recycling.
Further, extraction provides access to rare earth metals - which are definitely to obtain - and so worth recycling. According to estimates, the worth of global E-Waste is around $62.5 billion annually.
Formal sector's dilemma
India has few formal recyclers and their role is limited to segregation, dismantling of E-waste till the size reduction stage of printed circuit boards (PCBs). The pre-processed PCBs are sent abroad to smelting refineries for further recovery of precious metals like copper, silver, gold, aluminum, palladium, tantalum, ruthenium, platinum, etc., and treating the slag byproduct in an eco-friendly manner.
The limited organised recyclers face stiff competition from the informal sector and they receive a very small proportion of the obsolete goods. A Rajya Sabha document on E-Waste cites the example of a Noida-based 500 tonnes capacity unit processing only 200 tonnes so far. Likewise, a Roorkee unit with 36,000 tonnes annually processes just 600.
The informal sector dominates the collection, transportation, processing, and recycling of E-Waste. Pixabay
Hazards of the informal segment
The informal sector dominates the collection, transportation, processing, and recycling of E-Waste. Well networked and unregulated, it is unable to recover materials that can be besides creating serious hazards in terms of release of toxins in the environment and affecting the workers' health and safety.
For instance, Delhi's Seelampur is India's largest E-waste dismantling center with adults and children spending 10 hours daily to extract reusable components and precious metals. They use processes like open incineration and acid-leaching both to the detriment to self and ecology. Such workers suffer from stress, headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, weakness, and dizziness, and even DNA damage.
The same situation prevails elsewhere as shown in a 2018 documentary "Welcome to Sodom" exploring the Agbogbloshie dump in Ghana, where life revolves around the toxic waste as every year about 2,50,000 tons of sorted out computers, smartphones, air condition tanks, and other devices from outside are dumped here. In India, too large amounts of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) enters from foreign countries."
Interestingly the informal channel includes repair shops, used product dealers, e-commerce portal vendors, who use discarded electronics for reuse and cannibalization of components. India is ahead of most other countries in the region is the only country in Southern Asia with E-Waste legislation. The law mandates only authorized dismantlers and recyclers to collect e-waste. In 2016, the E-waste (Management) Rules, mandated collection targets and transferred responsibilities to the producers - Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
For E-Waste collection and disposal the integration of the informal sector into a transparent recycling system is crucial. Talking to india.mongabay.com, Pranshu Singhal, Founder, Karo Sambhav said: "We work with waste collectors and aggregators and help them get formalized - ensure everyone has pan cards, bank accounts and give invoices, and ensure that waste is traceable." In E-Waste management, manufacturers, too, play a key role. They need to integrate into their production process the use of recycled material besides acting as collectors of their old products for recycling.
ALSO READ: India will be the worlds biggest e-waste generator by 2020 study
Role of Consumers
Consumers should use their gadgets for longer and change them only when necessary and not for style. In case a fault in the gadget is repairable, then they should opt for that rather than discarding. While buying any product, they need to keep in mind that it should be recyclable. As pointed out in a World Economic Forum report, products should be designed so that they can be reused, durable, and safe for recycling. Further, producers should also have buy-back or return offers for old equipment.
Emphasizing the value of E-Waste, an article on teriin.org states: "E-waste is a rich source of metals such as gold, silver, and copper, which can be recovered and brought back into the production cycle. There is significant economic potential in the efficient recovery of valuable materials in e-waste and can provide income-generating opportunities for both individuals and enterprises." (IANS/JC)
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. Not only do fans love Amitabh Bachchan's outstanding performance, but the actor's heartwarming words are also highly regarded. A much moved Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.
When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt in the late 1990s, Dhirubhai Ambani stepped forward to give him financial assistance. In his speech, Bachchan remembered that Dhirubhai had sent Anil Ambani to offer him financial assistance during the crisis, which he had respectfully declined. Lenders began knocking on his door, losses mounted, and his bank account dwindled to nothing. He said, "Dhirubhai's money might have gotten me out of the problem quickly. However, I respectfully declined his offer and gradually began to find work again, which let me pay off my debt."
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. | Flickr
Later, after Bachchan had recovered from the bankruptcy, one day he was invited to an event at Dhirubhai's residence; Bachchan added, "Dhirubhai was standing and having a chat with his industrialist friends when he saw me there, he called me, firstly I felt shy even to present myself in front of such big industrialists but then, I went there, and Dhirubhai declared in front of all of them that 'This young man had fallen but managed to get back up on his own, I have a lot of respect for him because of that.' Those words of his were worth much more to me than any amount of money that he could have offered me."
It was the "Reliance Family Day" event and was attended by members of the Ambani family from all generations. The event commemorated the company's 40-year journey since its inception. It also celebrated the 85th birthday of the late Dhirubhai Ambani, RILs (Reliance Industries Limited) founder.
Keywords: Bollywood, Reliance, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhirubhai Ambani, event
In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
Anuja Kapur, Psychologist shares few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. | Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counselor and teacher. It's important to talkeeven if it's not with you.
Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. | Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. | Photo by Юлія Дубина on Unsplash
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need the proximity.
In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. | Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash
Maintain routines. Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. | Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns. The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash
Irrespective of the age of your child, it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kids, Help, stress, cope, routine, warmth, understanding, encourage, psychology, children
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), has announced plans for smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices in an effort to reduce waste. In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras, reports The Verge. The decision will have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless and a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable.
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices | Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that," the report quoted EU commissioner Thierry Breton as saying.
The Commission also wants to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices, which it says will improve the consumers' convenience. "With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics - an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste." In addition, the Commission will require manufacturers to provide relevant information about charging performance. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Electronic Devices, Chargers, Cable, smartphone, Adapters, Charging Cord