This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ritika Passi. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This Is How India Is Dealing With E-Waste Management

More from Ritika Passi

By Ritika Passi:

There is, as usual, bad news. The good news is that there is good news despite the bad news.

Waste along roadsides, in rivers and canals, and overflowing garbage dumps are common enough sights in India. Solid waste and decomposing trash vie for visibility. Water pollution, hygiene hazards and unwanted methane are evil consequences. In a country of liberal waste-disposal practices and sporadic garbage collection, a new scourge is running rampant — electronic waste, i.e., e-waste, bringing with it its own merry band of toxins.

ewaste

Of the 40-50 million tonnes of e-waste produced globally every year, a figure increasing between 3-8% annually, India contributes about 0.8 million tonnes. Granted, we’re far behind China (2.5 million tonnes), the US (over 3 million tonnes), and the EU (7-8 million tonnes), but with 80% of all e-waste being shipped to Asian developing nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and, you guessed it, India, there is definite cause to worry. Some 50,000-odd tonnes of e-waste makes its way into India after having skirted national bans and exploited loopholes. This may not seem like much in face of the fact that it is China which is the world’s electronic graveyard (absorbing 70% of global e-waste). But as newer models of mobile phones and computers whet India’s growing consumerist appetite (Over 900 million mobile phone subscribers. India now the 3rd largest internet user country!), every tonne counts: By 2020, India will have seen a 500% increase in e-waste generated by computers alone.

The manner in which e-waste in India is disposed is the key problem. It is either dumped into landfills like at Deonar, where it goes on to release toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, or scrap dealers (kabidawallas) go door-to-door and buy most of the high-tech trash, paying consumers by the kilogram. The collected items end up in scrap markets like the one at Seelampur in East Delhi, the biggest scrap market in the country. Metals like copper, silver and gold are extracted using unsafe, illegal methods such as open acid baths. Hazardous toxins come into contact with unprotected workers, increasing chances of mercury poisoning, asthma and skin diseases, and seep into the soil and groundwater.

Fortunately, the government has seen the light (or at least the initial glimmer). E-waste management rules were published by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2011 and brought into effect in 2012. The onus has shifted onto producers and bulk consumers, who now need to look for authentic, licensed recyclers. This has had a positive effect for start-ups collecting, segregating and recycling digital detritus, in some cases to the tune of more than a five-fold increase in revenue. From handling a mere 3% of India’s e-waste four years ago to over 7.5% today, there is scope for increasing investments in the organized sector — particularly in the face of the entrepreneurial-minded younger generation, which sees the benefit of partaking in the potentially highly lucrative field of extracting precious metals like platinum from electronic waste. For example, there is potentially five times more gold to be found in e-waste than in any mine worldwide. It could very well be opportunities of this kind that drive technological advancement in this field and set the stage for healthy competition. The added benefit would be a lower environmental cost (compared to, say, surface-mining).

Take Nitin Gupta’s Noida-based Attero Recycling, an early bird in the nascent Indian e-junk management industry that is now aiming for billion-dollar status in the next five years. It is not only involved in the Clean E-India initiative with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank to raise awareness and work with the informal sector, but is also gearing up to open its first plant abroad in Mexico by early 2014, followed by subsequent units around the world. Though it is the only company in India currently capable of recovering valuable metals to resell in the commodities market, there are other startups worth mentioning: Karan Thakkar’s Mumbai-based EcoCentric, a self-funded project that runs a 1,200-tonne plant to dismantle used electronics; Shankar Sharma’s Gurgaon-based Green Vortex (also set up with personal funds), working towards getting enough e-waste to fully utilize the company’s 1,500-tonne recycling capacity.

A growing presence of e-facilities being set up, the government will hopefully further the cause of safe and organized electronic waste management. This isn’t to say the matter has found a happy end; there is still the concern of integrating the 80,000 people part of the informal sector that deals with 93% of India’s e-waste. Active regulation from the government’s ends to ensure compliance with rules as well as to gauge progress would also not be amiss. And of course, in a country of 1.3 billion strong, there is always scope for raising awareness and inculcating eco-friendly habits, this time regarding use and recycling of electronics. Some commentators remark the situation is likely to worsen before it can ameliorate; with Mumbai being called a ticking e-waste bomb, this could very well be the case. Indeed, there’s a long way to go from having a 7.5% of the market to capturing even a 50% share.

Whether it is the intrinsic value of the gadget or the call of nature motivating awareness and action, it is imperative such good news keeps on coming; no guts and all glory, at least in the e-waste arena, could go a long way in boosting the Indian morale.

You must be to comment.
  1. Raman Sharma

    At least there is some good news even among bad news, only consistent efforts will yield some fruitful results in the fight against this menace of electronic waste management.

    1. autism

      autty speaks vicious peak

  2. autism

    0/10 vist http://www.reddit/r/pcmasterrace for more information on benefits of the computer.

  3. autism

    Did you know that e waste influences the free body radicals within the human body, stimulating a mutinogen that develops autism. E waste is contributing to rising cases of autism. Visit autismspeaks.org to learn more about the negative effects of E waste and its correlation to certain genetic disorders.

    1. autism

      gr8 m8 I r8 8/8

    2. autism

      I dont want to be the one that brings up the hate
      But currently in this world we need to debate
      the distribution of deadly e waste
      polluting once clean third world country space
      This problem has to be solved before its too late

      Copyright 2014 – Autism

More from Ritika Passi

Similar Posts

By ARUN KASHYAP

By Sheeva Yamuna

By Charkha features

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below