In response to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s drive for ‘Swachh Bharat,’ the Union Health Ministry recently auctioned the reusable e-waste worth a whopping Rs 13. Lakh. The e-waste included IT hardware like computers, printers, photocopying machines and other spare parts.
After the auction was carried out The Union Health Ministry announced the details of the auction through a tweet. They said that furthering the cause of the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat campaign, they auctioned the e-waste. The auction was conducted through the Central Procurement Portal. The e-waste included personal computers and other hardware which were lying unused in the office. Unused electronic items if remain unattended for long can cause harmful effects. By recycling or reusing electronic waste the government enabled sustainable resources.
The move has been inspirational for people and E-waste management companies in India like Namo E-waste. If the government sets up such an example for others to follow to manage e-waste, the work of e-waste management companies reduces to a great extent as it creates general awareness among the public.
We are living in a time when advancements in high technology have produced enormous amounts of e-waste which lie accumulated in offices and homes. And with each passing year, the volume of e-waste generated is skyrocketing. The quick production of advanced technology and efficient electronic devices is compelling people to discard the older ones within a short period. With each electronic device going to waste, the mission of making the country e-waste free is getting tougher.
Even the devices that are in good working condition, e-waste?
Many people wonder that the electronic devices that are in working condition but are lying unused do not mean they are e-waste. This is a wrong perception. If you have any electronic device placed in the house that has not been used for long, it could be harmful. It does not matter if it is kept safe or in a decent condition. If it is in a good condition it must be donated or given to a charity. It will be considered harmful because of the dangerous toxic chemicals that automatically leach from the metals present in the devices, especially the batteries.
From IT and communication devices, home appliances, entertainment gadgets to electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) used for medical purposes and in other offices fall under the category of e-waste. The list of typical e-waste products appears perennial as it includes almost every electronic and electrical device that is commonly used.
Is every e-waste hazardous?
Generally, e-waste is considered harmful and dangerous because of leaking toxic chemicals from it. The basic composition of all electronic products contains a variety of harmful materials like lead, cadmium, beryllium, and mercury, which have the potential to cause some serious harm or damage to the precious environment and thriving wildlife. They harm the ecological balance by polluting various habitats.
Leaching occurs when an e-waste item starts to break up into microscopic bits entering the landfill. And finally, these harmful traces of toxins seep into the ground under the landfill resulting in elevation of the number of toxic materials present in the groundwater.
The apex health body, World Health Organization (WHO) by the United Nations has declared that risks are likely to go up after coming in direct contact with such toxic materials that leak from e-waste. Inhalation of toxic fumes is equally dangerous. The accumulation of toxic chemicals in our soil, clean water, and healthy food are detrimental to our health.
Safe e-waste disposal
Our government has set up a good example for others to follow, especially the bulk producers of e-waste.Recycling or donating the no-longer-in-use electronic devices aids in enabling sustainable ecosystems/resources. It always helps to dispose of e-waste through formal methods instead of dumping them out in the regular bin. The best solution is to hand over those devices to an authorized recycler or e-waste management firm skilled at performing safe recycling of e-waste products.