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Mumbaiites recycle 800kg e-waste on World Environment Day

The city produces 12 crore kg of electronic waste in a year.

mumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2018 12:21 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Pune,KC College
Residents of Amarbaug Society at Chembur who participated in the initiative on June 5. (HT PHOTO)

Even as the financial capital struggles to discard its electronic waste (e-waste), three housing societies and two colleges have collected, segregated and sent 800kg of e-waste for scientific recycling on the occasion of World Environment Day, June 5.

The housing societies include Amarbaug Society in Chembur, Yoganand Society in Borivli (West) and Akruti Atria Society in Andheri (East).

WHAT IS E-WASTE?
  • E-waste is broken or old electronic gadgets, including parts of computers, TV sets, stereos, copiers, mobile phones, phone chargers, electric cables, batteries and fax machines which contain toxic, but valuable materials that can be recycled.
  • E-waste contains hazardous material which can harm human, animal and plant life if not disposed of scientifically. This includes lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and barium. They can cause neurological impairments, anaemia, kidney failure, gastrointestinal and respiratory irritation, abnormalities of skeletal system, live inflammation, liver cancer, and cardiovascular diseases after chronic exposure.

They were joined by two colleges – KC College of Engineering, Management Studies & Research, Thane, and KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, Vidyavihar.

The initiative was spearheaded by city-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) - ECO-ROX, which sent the waste to a central government-approved private recycler.

“To ensure the safe disposal of the waste, we all have to act together. Segregation and scientific way of recycling will enable us to minimise health hazards, reduce air toxins and prevent fire incidences on the dumping ground,” said Harsha Mehta, president, ECO-ROX.

The collection drive was carried out under the leadership of Rashmi Joshi, joint secretary, ECO-ROX, who organised awareness campaigns at all five locations, and ensured that the waste was collected properly and sent for recycling.

“E-waste contains more than a thousand different elements, many of which are toxic. The irresponsible handling can have disastrous effects on the environment and our health, especially due to metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and beryllium,” she said.

India’s 1,240 million population generates 18.5 lakh metric tonnes or 1.85 million kg of e-waste every year, the study found.

Dr Shubha Pandit, principal of KJ Somaiya College, said, “E-waste, if disposed unscientifically, can be dangerous for the environment and living beings. Hence, scientific disposal or recycling of e-waste it is essential for the sake of the planet.”

An average Mumbaiite has been producing seven times the amount of e-waste in 2017 as compared to an average Indian, according to the study by NASSCOM Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

E-WASTE GENERATED BY VARIOUS METROS ANNUALLY
  • Mumbai: 1,20,000 metric tonnes
  • Delhi (NCR): 98,000
  • Bengaluru: 92,000
  • Chennai : 67,000
  • Kolkata: 55,000
  • Ahmedabad: 36,000
  • Hyderabad: 32,000
  • Pune: 26,000
  • Source: Figures compiled from various industry reports by NASSCOM Foundation

Mumbai produces 12 crore kg of e-waste in a year (9.6 kg of e-waste generated by one person).

“Modern technology owes ecology an apology. So, proper disposal of e-waste is a small contribution to conserving ecology,” said Dr Arundhati Chakrabarti, IQAC coordinator of KC College.

E-waste such as batteries, wires, chargers, cables, mobiles, headphones, monitors, printers, CPUs are some of the most hazardous types of waste, which are thrashed in the city’s dumping grounds. When disposed unscientifically, e-waste contaminates soil, ground water, and air, leading to environment and health hazards.

Residents said the initiative received a good response in their societies.

“We appealed to other residents through social media and also conducted a door-to-door campaign about the dangers of e-waste to the environment. Concerned citizens came forward to recycle the waste,” said Shalini Mohite, resident of Amar Baug Society.

“To avoid future disaster, we need to take positive steps now. Our society members discuss ways to recycle e-waste and make honest efforts towards environment conservation,” said Pratiksha Shinde, secretary, Akruti Atria Society.

First Published: Jun 11, 2018 12:21 IST