UN experts report released by UNEP.
Many developing countries including India face the spectre of hazardous e-waste mountains with
serious consequences for the environment and public health, according to UN experts in a landmark report released on February 22, 2010 by
UNEP. Issued at a meeting of Basel Convention and other world chemical authorities prior to UNEP's Governing Council meeting in Bali, Indonesia, the report,
"Recycling – from E-Waste to Resources," used data from 11 representative
developing countries to estimate current and future e-waste generation – which includes old and dilapidated desk and laptop computers, printers, mobile phones,
pagers, digital photo and music devices, refrigerators, toys and televisions. Global e-waste generation is growing by about 40 million tons a year.
The UN research predicts that in South Africa and China, e-waste from old computers may jump by 200 to 400 per cent from 2007 levels and by 500 per cent
in India. E-waste from mobile phones in the same period is forecast to rise seven times in China, and 18 times in India.
e-Waste in India
Currently, an estimated 380,000 tonnes of e-waste is generated annually in India, of
which 19,000 tonnes are recycled,” said MAIT Executive Director Vinnie Mehta.
India faces a mounting challenge to dispose of an estimated 420,000 tonnes of electronic waste a year that it generates domestically and imports
from abroad, a green lobby group said on October 28, 2009. Pollution control officials, who declined to give figures for the quantity of
e-waste, said India had only six regular recycling units with an annual capacity of 27,000 tonnes.
"Computers and electronic equipments which have completed
their life cycle and are obsolete in the West have started arriving in India and the entire South Asian market in huge quantities," says Ravi
Agarwal director of Toxics Link, a not-for-profit environmental group. These "cheap" machines are almost totally made out of phased-out parts
like Intel central processing units, memory chips, hard disk drives, and others, extracted from cheap and obsolete personal computers and
electronic equipment that are no longer in use on the other side of the Pacific and the Atlantic are being dumped in India..
Imports of obsolete electronic equipment that have been discarded for recycling in the "developed world" have become a lucrative business in
developing countries like India. Government authorities paying no heed to the influx of tons of toxic e-waste along with lax local laws. Thus
India is rapidly turning into a deadly dumping ground of toxic organic compounds and poisonous metals. According to a report by Toxics
Link claims that the country generates about 150,000 tons of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) a year, including
computers, TVs, refrigerators and washing machines. This does not include clandestine imports from the developed world shipped into the
country under the guise of scrap or second hand goods.