Delhi: the world’s e-waste capital | business | Hindustan Times
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Delhi: the world’s e-waste capital

The country’s Capital is fast earning the dubious distinction of becoming the world’s e-waste dumping capital, thanks to a heady cross-pollination of lucrative business incentives and weak punitive measures. Gaurav Jha reports.

business Updated: Oct 06, 2008 21:32 IST
Gaurav Jha

The country’s Capital is fast earning the dubious distinction of becoming the world’s e-waste dumping capital, thanks to a heady cross-pollination of lucrative business incentives and weak punitive measures.

E-waste comprises wastes generated from used electronic devices and household appliances such as discarded computers, handheld cellular phones, stereos, refrigerators and air conditioners.

Estimates culled out by various agencies and civil society organisations showed over 25,000 people handle 50,000 tonnes of e-waste in various scrap yards across the city. Shastri Nagar and Seelampur are among the scrap dumping and processing grounds in Delhi.

“The informal recycling business in Delhi alone is over Rs 2,000 cr,” said Greenpeace India campaigner Abhishek Pratap.

According to Toxics Link, an non-governmental organisation engaged in ecological issues, it costs about $20 to recycle a
personal computer (PC) in US, whereas Indian importers pay up to $15 dollar each for them. “That means a net gain of $35 for the US recycler,” Satish Sinha, associate director, Toxics Link, said.

By extracting the usable parts and then dumping it on the backyard scrap trading outfits, an importer can generate about $10 dollar in revenue.

The Central Pollution Control Board has admitted that e-waste generation in India is expected to exceed 8,00,000 tonnes by 2012, although the government is yet to come out with any proper legislation on recycling of e-waste.

Old computers are sold for Rs 20 per kilogram and around 50,000 tonnes of waste are generated in the National Capital Region, Rakesh Johri, senior scientist, The Energy Research Institute, said. “In addition, recyclers earn over Rs 2,000 per computer in the process of recycling from precious metals extracted.”