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Ragpickers to help collect e-waste in Doon

Ragpickers will be involved in clearing electronic waste (e-waste) from Dehradun, pollution control board officials said

dehradun Updated: Mar 25, 2018 22:08 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand News
Ragpickers will pick e-waste and submit it to the dealers who will help in recycling it.(HT File)

Ragpickers will be involved in clearing electronic waste (e-waste) from Dehradun, pollution control board officials said.

The Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) and the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) will press ragpickers for collecting e-waste — wires, parts of computers and laptops, discarded mobile phones, old batteries and so on – and submit them to the designated recyclers.

“Electronic waste consists of some of the most harmful metals, such as lead and mercury. We want the ragpickers to pick this waste and submit it to the dealers who will help in recycling it,” said SP Subuddhi, member secretary of the board. “This will also reduce its dumping at the trenching ground where we don’t have the facility of recycling this type of garbage.”

The city now generates 250 metric tonnes of garbage every day, which is taken to Shishambada ground for dumping. DMC and a private firm have engaged people for segregating the garbage.

Nearly 20% garbage is degradable and used for making manure. Post-segregation 40% of the waste constitutes landfill. Only 5% of this 40% waste is electronic, and its disposal poses a challenge, officials said.

According to pollution control board and civic body officials, only 10% of such waste is collected from the ground and the remaining 90% is left in the bins.

“The problem with the e-waste is that people don’t know where it could be recycled. So, they dump it in the bins. The metals and chemicals in them cause more harm to the environment,” said Mahesh Bhandari, president of the Doon Resident Welfare Front.

If not disposed properly, e-wastes find their way to landfills leading to leakage of heavy metals and radioactive substances that cause groundwater contamination. To tackle this problem, the pollution board and DMC have decided that a few ragpickers will be designated to collect e-waste from garbage and submit it to scrap dealers who will pass it on to recyclers registered with the board.

The urban local body takes the help of a private agency for door-to-door collection of garbage, which is taken to the trenching ground. This process, officials said, has reduced the number of ragpickers engaged in the disposal of solid waste from the city.

Presently, 150 ragpickers are listed with the local body, of which 10 will be initially designated for e-waste collection. The number will later be increased to collect e-waste from all parts of the city, officials said.

DMC will first identify places with a concentration of computer service shops. Ragpickers will later be pressed for e-waste collection for other parts of the city, officials said.

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 22:07 IST