Soon, you will know where the old computer you plan to junk will land.
In ten days, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will zero in on one of the five selected sites in Taloja and Vasai to set up the first electronic waste facility for the city.
“E-waste is a good business opportunity provided there is some kind of institutional support,” said M. R. Shah, principal advisor, solid waste management cell, MMRDA.
“In the absence of e-waste regulations, there is a loss to the economy because at present most parts are damaged. There are also occupational and environmental hazards when the toxic metals get into the ecosystem. Once this processing model is developed, other cities too can replicate it, ” Shah said.
An agency will soon be appointed to run the centre, which will operate in one year. While the facility will help recover most parts of the electronic items, only two percent hazardous waste will reach the landfill.
The facility, which will be spread over 10 acres, assumes significance for Mumbai as it tops the list of e-waste producing cities in the country.
Of the 20,000 tonnes of e-waste generated in Maharashtra, 15,000 tonnes is from the MMR region. India produces 50,000 tonnes of e-waste annually – the number is expected to increase to 800,000 by 2012.
At present, while households sell their electronic and electrical equipments to nearby junk dealers, companies auction their old products that then reach the informal sector.
Currently in talks with various stakeholders, companies will send their waste to centre when functional.
Also, various centres will be set to collect household electronic waste that will be dropped to the facility by the appointed agency.
To start, the facility will be built as a modular system and cater to an initial load of 7,500 tonnes where equipment will be separated followed by segregation of every minute part at a cost of Rs 38 crore.
The facility for extraction of precious metal such as gold, silver and chromium will be built with a budget of Rs 76 crore.
“As the quantity of e-waste increases, more units can be added to the modular unit. There is also a provision to store waste for three months,” said Sharma.
“Recovery of precious metal is the main business in the business of e-waste in India,” he added.