ABSTRACT also because of dumping of E-Waste from


E-Waste is one of the rapidly growing problems of
the world. It comprises of old, end-of-life electronic appliances such as
computers, laptops, TVs, DVD players, Refrigerators, freezers, mobiles, MP3
players, Washing machines etc. Our planet is suffering from environment related
problems and now electronic waste is also in the list. E-Waste consists of
multitude of components, some containing toxic substances like lead, cadmium
and some acids that can have an adverse impact on human health and the
environment.Life is getting easier as the technology is growing rapidly.But on
the other hand equal amount of mess is created in the name of waste.

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In India, E-Waste
management assumes greater significance not only due to the generation of its
own E-Waste but also because of dumping of E-Waste from developed countries.
This is coupled with India’s lack of appropriate infrastructure and procedures
for its disposal and recycling. Putting the onus of recycling of E-Waste on
producers, the MOEF has for the first time notified E-Waste management rules.
(2011).This paper is associated with issues, impacts and remedies of this
emerging problem, in the light of initiatives in India. It includes Reduction,
Reuse, and Recycling of E-Waste. Reduce your generation of E-Waste through
smart procurement and good maintenance. Reuse still functioning electronic
equipment by donating or selling it to others who can use it, recycle those
products that can’t be repaired by finding an appropriate organization.


It might
have taken decades of years to develop things and make it right for the proper
use.We are in the rapid development phase of the technology where the output is
quick and easily obtained.Globalization and information
technology are being widely recognized as main drivers of the human
civilization in the later part of twentieth century and the 21st century.Man
has become very much addicted to the technology that his day begins and ends
with the use of technology. The Information Technology (IT) has been the power
house of the global economy particularly since early 1990s. Software and
hardware part of IT has touched most of the parts of social, technical,
economic and natural environment.Many devices are constructed and created with
the latest advancement. Exponentially increasing production of computer
hardware has posed major challenges of proper disposal of the waste (e-waste)
produced by this industry.Any electronic device is not permanent it has a
particular lifetime after which usually they are disposed. Current study
focuses on the effect of usage, dumping and recycling of the electronic waste
on the natural environment.  The paper
has five sections.  In the introduction
section size of the global and Indian electronics market (particularly
computers) has been presented. Next section is born out of hazardous impact of
different chemicals disposed in environment in the process of computer usage,
disposal and inefficient recycling. 
The   third section brings out the
dynamics of international trade, environmental regulations and technology
transfer issues for comprehensive understanding of e-waste issues mainly caused
by computers. The fourth section describes the case of India in this regard
which has been presented in the above mentioned broader context. The paper is
concluded with discussion, conclusion and recommendations for better management
of e-waste. 


Global electronic
equipment production has grown from $225 billion in 1980 to almost $1 trillion
in 2000, which equates to a compound average annual growth of 7.7 percent over
the past 20 years. In 1980, half of all electronics systems were manufactured
in North America, one quarter in Europe and the balance split between Japan and
the rest of Asia. The personal computer was just emerging and the transition to
digital telecommunications switching was in full swing. A dramatic shift in
production leadership occurred over the next ten years.  Several factors contributed to this rapid
shift in global electronic equipment production. During the 1980s, the Japanese
economy was the envy of the world. GDP per capita had risen from $5,000 in 1960
to $15,000 in 1980, and by 1990 had reached $22,000. Through the companies like
Sony, Panasonic etc. of Japan had become the clear leader in innovation of
consumer electronic products and high volume sophisticated electronic assembly.
The combination of growing indigenous demand, global consumer electronics
product leadership, and many years of investment in manufacturing technology
and capacity certainly benefited worldwide electronics producers during the
1980s. The last ten years have spawned enormous change in the global economy
and in the electronics industry because of Democratization of Eastern Europe
and the integration of the EU economies, an increasingly pragmatic commercial
orientation by China,

? Rapidly increasing
economic growth elsewhere in Asia, 

? The longest economic
expansion in the USA,

? Low cost production
from Japan and

? The bursting of the
“bubble” economy 

Asian production has continued to thrive, surpassing
$200 billion in 2000 and accounts for more than 20 percent of total production
worldwide. Asian production of electronics is to a large extent export-driven.
But investment was focused to serve the personal computer industry, cellular
telephone production, as well as fulfillment of fast-growing domestic demand
for consumer and industrial electronics. This has encouraged the manufacturing
base for continued expansion. China India, Brazil and other developing
countries are playing an increasing role in the IT market. IT related industry
is expected to grow 11% in 2006. In the last five years (1995-2000), the Indian
IT industry has recorded a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of more than
42.4 per cent, which is almost double the growth rate of IT industries in many
of the developed countries. Over the decade the industry has developed more
than 150 major hardware players, supported by over 800 ancillary units and
small time vendors engaged in sub assemblies and equipment manufacturing. All
this has increased the installed base to more than 5 million PCs and as on
December 31, 2000, the penetration rate to more than 5 PCs per 1,000


Electronic Waste (e-waste) is the term used to
describe old, end-of-life electronic appliances such as computers, laptops, TVs,
DVD players, mobile phones, mp3 players etc. which have been disposed of by
their original users. Technically, electronic waste is only a subset of WEEE
(Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).

According to the OECD
any appliance using an electric power supply that has reached its       end-o f-life would come under WEEE.
Acknowledging the benefits of IT revolution this section presents darker
reality of information technology. Very speed of innovation that lies at the
heart of computer manufacturer leads to the product obsolescence. The reality
of computer life cycle reveals a hazardous life cycle. The dark side of high
technological development of electronic industry, especially computer
technology, is revealed in the form of polluted drinking water, waste
discharges that cause harm to fish, birth defects, high rate of miscarriage and
cancer among cluster workers.

Rapid changes in
computer technology and the emergence of new electronic goods,   the growing dependence on information
technology, increasing rates of consumption of electronic products have led to
disastrous environmental consequences. This high tech benefits and boom in the
market lead to extensive use of electronic goods, especially computers. All
this is turning the face of the industry and collectively form a problem of
electronic waste the percentage of waste that is technology-related is growing
at an alarming rate. In a recent study researchers found that the volume of
e-waste is increasing by 3 – 5% per year, which is almost three times faster
than the municipal waste stream is growing generally. The lifespan of a
computer has shrunk from four or five years to about two years Electronics, the
largest and fastest growing manufacturing industry in the world, aggressively
promotes a culture of fast obsolescence and increased consumption. Large
amounts of dangerous chemicals are present in computer and other electronic
goods.  The toxicity is due to lead,
mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium (ChromiumVI), brominated flame
retardants, plastic, PVC etc. as follows in table:

A typical computer
monitor may contain more than 6 percent lead by weight. In general, computer
and electronic equipments are complicated assembly of more than 1000 materials,
few of them are highly toxic such as chlorinated and brominated substances,
toxic gases, photoactive and biological active materials acids plastics and
plastic additives (Clean computer campaign). Each computer display contains an
average of 4-8 pound of lead (MCC: 1996). Monitor glass contains about 20
percent lead by weight. When these components are illegally disposed and
crushed in landfills, the lead is released into the environment, posing a
hazardous legacy for current and future generations. 

About 70 percent of the
heavy metals including mercury and cadmium, found in landfills come from
electronic equipments discarded by the users. These heavy metals and other
hazardous substances  found in
electronics items, contaminate ground water and pose environmental and public
health risks,  (Poison PC and Toxic TV) A
single component of computer waste, Cathode Rays Tube (CRTs), has emerged as
the  leading edge of hazardous waste at
the local, state, national and international level. CRTs are the glass Picture
Tubes in computer monitors and other video display devices that amplify and
focus high energy electrons beam to create the images, which we ultimately see
in our screens.

In order to protect
consumers from radiation damages, the glass in CRTs contain lead compasses
which is approximately 20 percent of each CRT. Lead is an example of heavy
metal, a metallic element that is in pure form heavy. According to Xinhua News
Agency, China has generated roughly 1.1 million tons of e-waste annually since
2015, including 5 million TV sets, 4 million refrigerators, 5 million washing
machines, 5 million computers, and tens of millions of mobile phones and it
will continue to pile up. Greenpeace estimates that by 2016, there will be 178
million new computer users in China alone. The U.S. National Safety Council
predicts that in that country alone between 315 million and 680 million
computers will become obsolete within the next few years. The waste will
contain more than 2 billion kg of plastic, 0.5 billion kg of lead, 1 million kg
of cadmium, 0.5 million kg of chromium and nearly 200,000 kg of mercury.
Environmentalists also worry that with the popularity of new liquid crystal
display technology, an increasing number of old monitors using cathode ray
tubes are ending up in the trash.  The
disposal problem regarding the tens of millions of first generation mobile
phones are today’s emerging challenge. · Total estimated  e-waste generated from computer , television,
refrigerator and washing machines is 1,46,180 tones and is expected to go up
to  around 1,600,000 by



Only 20 percent of electronic waste is being recycled globally every year as
incomes rises and prices fall, predictions for the future are looking
grim.’Equal in weight to almost nine Great Pyramids of Giza, 4,500 Eiffel
Towers, or 1.23 million fully-loaded, 18-wheel, 40-ton trucks, enough to form a
line 28,160km long, the distance from New York to Bangkok and back.’ That’s the
scale of the world’s growing amount of electronic waste, according to the United
Nations University (UNU), which has co-authored the The
Global E-waste Monitor 2017.

 Due to lower environmental standards and
working conditions in China and India, e-waste is being sent to these countries
for processing – in most cases illegally. Uncontrolled burning and disposal are
causing environmental problems due to the methods of processing the waste. The
labor-intensive nature of electronic waste recycling, abundant, cheap and
skilled labor force and generation of huge profits for local governments causes
the authorities to turn a blind eye to this practice. Thus, they serve as
passive encouragement to its spread.   It
is more convenient and also economical to export e-waste to the third world
countries like India, rather than managing and incurring high environmental and
economic cost. 

Various departments of
the government, public as well as private sectors are responsible for fast
feeding of old electronic appliances such as computers, telephones, mobile
phone, etc, into the waste stream. Other sources of e-waste are retailers,
individual households, foreign embassies, PC manufacturing units, players of
the secondary market, and imported electronic scraps from other countries.
Individual households have the least contribution in generating of IT product
obsolescence. Most Indian households prefer to pass their obsolete technology
to near and dear ones or exchange it from the retailer. It is the illegal
dumping of junked computers from other parts of the world that generates the
biggest part of the e-waste In India; the mountains of e-waste have not yet
manifested themselves. This is because of the propensity not to throw away
equipment, even if it is obsolete, till it becomes totally unserviceable. But,
in the younger generation, this attitude is changing and the throwaway culture
of the west is slowly permeating into the country. Another factor limiting
generation of e-waste in India is that we do not have a sizeable IT hardware
manufacturing infrastructure as yet. We also commenced large scale
computerization a bit late in this country, compared to the developed
countries.Overall E-Waste generated in the upcoming years is estimated in the
form of graphical representation.



Around 1,050 tonnes of
electronic scrap is being produced by manufacturers and assemblers in a single
calendar year.

? In a single month,
there is a reported case of import of 30 metric tonnes (MT) of e- waste at
Ahmadabad port.

? The minimum number of
computers procured by an average scale scrap dealer is 20-25 per month.

? The approximate
number of scrap dealers specializing in electronics, in and around Delhi, is
more than 40. This figure also includes large scale dealers who handle
thousands of PCs per month.

? Approximately 1.38
million personal computers become obsolete every year.

? The IT and IT enable
services are expanding at a faster rate in and around the national capital
region like: Delhi, Gurgoan and Noida. Over the last five years, the Indian IT
industry has recovered a compound annual growth rate of more than 42.4 %, which
is almost double the growth rate of IT industry in many of the developing
countries. Indian configuration of PC per 500 people is going to change to 1
for 50 by 2008.

? The total WEEE
generation in India has been estimated to be 1, 46,180 tonnes per year based on
selected EEE tracer items. Almost 50% of the PCs sold in India are products
from the secondary market and are re-assembled on old components. The remaining
market share is covered by multinational manufacturers (30%) and Indian (22%)

? Mumbai currently tops
the list of major cities with e-waste.

? Foreign companies
helping Indian importers bypass government regulations to bring in the goods
for recycling.

? Bangalore may be
generating 10,000 to 15,000 tons of e-waste every month, according to industry
sources. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has put it at 10,000 tons
a month. Along with discarded obsolete hardware, many western countries are
selling off their e-waste as scrap and some of this reach scraps dealers in
this city. Metal components and some of the outer casings are resold, while the
rest of the computers are dumped haphazardly. 



The most urgent
challenge domestic manufacturer’s face is to use “greener” design. The
Legislative process embodies two considerations: one is to encourage the
recycling and reuse of resources, and second the other is environmental protection,
a clear principle is that sending e-waste to landfills or incinerators will be
strictly prohibited.  



Reusing and recycling
the raw materials from end-of- life electronics conserve s natural resources
and avoids solid waste, air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas
emissions. By donating your used electronics, you allow schools, non-profit
organizations, and lower- income families to use equipment that they otherwise
could not afford. Regardless of whether e-waste being processed in developing
countries is domestic or imported, there is a clear need for environmentally
and economically effective systems for reuse and recycling. We need to improve
the environmental performance of all economic operators involved in the
lifecycle of the electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and in particular
operators directly involved in the treatment of WEEE through the principle of
Extended Producers Responsibility, Prevention need to be promoted to contribute
to the environmentally sound recovery and disposal of WEEE. Further, the use of
hazardous substances needs to be regulated. It is not possible to foresee every
conceivable ill and legislate accordingly. Some environmental issues are of
global proportions, and the „wait and see? philosophy is simply too dangerous
because the impending environmental disaster could be beyond our means to
repair. In the long term, pro-active measures must be used which involve
addressing the whole life environmental impact. Both short and long term
activities can, if properly managed, lead to improved (or new) business
opportunities. Problem cannot be solved by only purchasing a few sets of fancy
recycling machines from developed countries. Lacking in advanced technology yet
rich in labor, India should develop a path for e-waste recycling that is
suitable to its current situation; the most important thing at present is to
guarantee the safety of the disassembly and treatment process, while taking
full consideration of the environment and worker’s health. Such reform,
however, would require an overhaul of the country’s labor rights structure as
well as greater enforcement of environmental regulations. There is an immediate
need for collaboration between industry, government, environmental groups, and
citizens to solve the problems of e-waste, e-scrap, e-surplus, e-junk, and
e-discards. There are two immediate solutions, which must happen through a
combination of legislation and voluntary stepping up life cycle greening by the


Before they can sell
new equipment, the producers must take back old equipment for proper disposal.
The cost of such “end-of- life” processing must be a part of the sale price,
not listed as a separate fee. This gives manufacturers an economic incentive to
devise the most efficient methods of coping with the problems of old equipment.
Implementation of such measures would require the employment of large number of
people, and could potentially mean the expansion of a new economic sector in
developing countries. The pace of technological change requires not only
constant upgrading of the chips in computers, but many of the other components
as well. The new re-use technologies could provide a source of new jobs in developing
countries, and call on Civil Society to help by lobbying at the national level
and in international forums for recognition of the e-waste problem and
potential solutions. Unless the Indian Government comes up with legislation
compelling vendors to initiate a take back and recycle mechanism, the Indian IT
dream could well end up in an ecological nightmare. IT advancement would, then,
mean environmental disaster.  


It is desirable to
maximize reuse of equipment and economic development while minimizing
environmental burdens and economic costs. Multi-stakeholder aspects are also
important; the issue is politically contentious, both within and between
nations. It is argued that, to the extent possible, effective research requires
collaboration between different regions and societal sectors, and debate on
solutions should be rigorous and take place in a neutral arena. Households,
companies, and governmental organizations can encourage electronics
manufacturers to design greener electronics by purchasing computers and other
electronic goods with environmentally preferable attributes and by requesting
take back options at the time of purchase.

The Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which has issued guidelines for
the environmentally sound management of used and scrapped PCs, described the
used computer as a new business with “somewhat informal origins. The
Central Pollution Control Board of India has just constituted a national-level
working group with representatives from regulatory agencies, state pollution
control boards, ministry of Information Technology, industry associations, and
experts in e-waste, which has the task of developing guidelines for e-waste
recycling and formulating. Japan has mandated producer take-back of electrical
appliances; this is now being extended to computers and other electronics. As
the Japanese government requires companies to take back products containing
lead, companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Sharp, NEC, and Toshiba are
investing in lead-free technologies. Also in 1998, Taiwan started a take-back
system for computers, televisions, and large home appliances that requires
retailers to accept used electronics, regardless of where they were sold.


Most waste is
inherently dangerous. It can degrade to produce leachate, which may contaminate
ground water, and create landfill gas, which is explosive. In addition, because
of the dangers associated with landfill sites, there are now very strict
requirements on the construction, operation and aftercare of such sites. Most
planning authorities want a worked out quarry to be used for landscaping rather
than a landfill site which no one wants in their „back yard?. Product design
must be employed to help to minimize not only the nature and amount of waste,
but also to maximize end-of-life recycling. Manufacturers, retailers, users,
and disposers should share responsibility for reducing the environmental
impacts of products. Adopt product stewardship approach i.e. a product-centered
approach should be adopted to preserve and protect environment. 


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5. MAIT Annual Report
(2003), (http://www.e-waste.in/ weee_basics /weee_statistics/

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