‘e-waste poses health threat due to toxic chemicals’

Anantapur: Noted industrialist Virupaksha Reddy said that e-waste is dangerous due to toxic chemicals that naturally leach from the metals inside when buried. Addressing a workshop on ‘Electronic waste management’, Virupaksha Reddy said that a large number of workers were involved in crude dismantling of these electronic items for their livelihood and their health was at risk. Therefore, there is an urgent need to plan a preventive strategy in relation to health hazards of e-waste handling among these workers in India, he pointed out.

In India, the quantity of ‘e-waste’ or electronic waste has now become a major problem. Disposal of e-waste is an emerging global environmental and public health issue as it has become the most rapidly growing segment of formal municipal waste stream in the world. In India most of the waste electronic items are stored at households as people do not know how to discard them.

Around 25,000 workers including children are involved in crude dismantling units in Delhi alone where 10,000–20,000 a tonne of e-waste is handled every year by bare hands. Improper dismantling and processing of e-waste render it perilous to human health and our ecosystem.

A local e-waste manager Prakash Reddy revealed that the Basel Action Network (BAN) stated in a report that 50-80 percent of e-waste collected by the USA is exported to India, China, Pakistan, Taiwan, and a number of African countries. India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and the domestic demand for consumer durables has been skyrocketing. He added that the time has come for proper e-waste management before it becomes unmanageable.


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