India generated 3.3 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2007 as dumping from developed countries and informal recycling added to environmental degradation, a new study released on Thursday revealed.
E-waste is expected to touch 4.7 lakh tonnes in India by 2011, according to the study unveiled by MAIT together with GTZ, the German Technical Cooperation Agency.
MAIT is the apex body representing India's IT hardware, training and R&D services sectors.
Electronic waste or "Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment" (WEEE), according to the WEEE directive of the European Commission, is defined as waste material consisting of any broken or unwanted electrical or electronic appliances. However, the MAIT-GTZ assessment study focussed only on the waste stream of computers, televisions and mobile handsets.
The study, said to be a first-of-its kind to inventorise e-waste in the country, revealed a total of 3.3 lakh tonnes of e-waste is generated annually in India, while an additional 50,000 tonnes is illegally imported into the country.
However, only 19,000 tonnes of this is recycled due to high refurbishing and reuse of electronics products in the country and also due to poor recycling infrastructure.
Currently, e-waste recycling, especially processing, remains concentrated in the informal sector, which due to poor processing technologies and very small capacities, contributes significantly to pollution and environmental degradation.