India 5th biggest generator of e-waste in 2014: UN report

  • PTI, United Nations
  • Updated: Apr 19, 2015 12:50 IST

India is the fifth biggest producer of e-waste in the world, discarding 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) of electronic and electrical equipment in 2014, a UN report has said warning that the volume of global e-waste is likely to rise sharply by 21 per cent in next three years.

The 'Global E-Waste Monitor 2014', compiled by UN's think tank United Nations University (UNU), said at 32 per cent, the US and China produced the most e-waste overall in 2014.

India came in fifth, behind the US, China, Japan and Germany, the report said.

Most e-waste in the world in 2014 was generated in Asia at 16 Mt or 3.7 kg per inhabitant. The top three Asian nations with the highest e-waste generation in absolute quantities are China (6.0 Mt), Japan (2.2 Mt) and India (1.7 Mt).

The top per capita producers by far are the wealthy nations of northern and western Europe, the top five being Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, and the UK.

The lowest amount of e-waste per inhabitant was generated in Africa (1.7 kg/inhabitant). The continent generated 1.9 Mt of e-waste in total.

In 2014, people worldwide discarded all but a small fraction of an estimated 41.8 Mt of electrical and electronic equipment -- mostly end-of-life kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment like microwave ovens, washing machines and dishwashers.

The volume of e-waste is expected to rise by 21% to 50 Mt in 2018, said the report, which details the location and composition of the world's fast-growing e-waste problem.

While only 7% of e-waste last year was made up of mobile phones, calculators, personal computers, printers, and small information technology equipment, almost 60% was a mix of large and small equipment used in homes and businesses, such as vacuum cleaners, toasters, electric shavers, video cameras, washing machines, electric stoves, mobile phones, calculators, personal computers, and lamps.

The 41.8 Mt weight of last year's e-waste is comparable to the distance from New York to Tokyo and back.

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