E waste Current Affairs
A recent ASSOCHAM-NEC study on “Electricals & Electronics Manufacturing in India” has revealed that India recycles only 5% of its e-waste and the country is one of the biggest contributors of e-waste in the world.
E-waste of electronic waste refers to the electronic equipment being thrown away. It includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT), Printed Circuit Board (PCB), mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, white goods such as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD)/ Plasma televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and so on.
Key Points from ASSOCHAM-NEC study
According to the recent ASSOCHAM-NEC study:
- India generates around 2 million tonnes per annum (TPA) of E-waste of which 12% constituted of telecom equipment alone.
- Apart from India, the top e-waste generator countries are China, US, Japan and Germany.
- Among Indian states, largest quantity of E-waste is generated by Maharashtra (19.8% ), followed by Tamil Nadu (13%), Uttar Pradesh (10.1%), Karnataka (8.9%), Gujarat (8.8%) and Madhya Pradesh (7.6%).
- Out of the 2 million TPA e-waste generated, only 4.38 Lakh TPA is recycled in India.
- The low quantum of recycling of e-waste in India is due to lack of infrastructure, absence of strong legislative framework etc.
- The chemicals and pollutants generated by E-waste lead to environment and public health issues. Prolonged exposure to chemicals released by e-waste causes damage of nervous systems, blood systems, kidneys and brain development, respiratory disorders, skin disorders, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart, liver, and spleen damage.
E-waste is one of the major global concerns of the 21st century. As per Moore’s law, the transistor numbers to be accommodated in same size chip double every two years, and due to this most electronic systems get outdated in about three years. People upgrade their mobiles, laptops, cameras, televisions etc. creating a large amount of useless e-waste.
IIT-trained Australian scientist of Indian origin Veena Sahajwalla has launched world’s first microfactory that can transform components from electronic waste items into valuable materials for re-use.
The e-waste microfactory uses green manufacturing technologies to turn many types of consumer waste such as glass, plastic and timber into commercial materials and products. It is modular micro factory that can operate on site as small as 50 square metres and can be located wherever waste may be stockpiled. It has one or series of small machines and devices that uses patented technology to perform one or more functions in the reforming of waste products into new and usable resources.
Working: The e-waste microfactory has number of small modules for processing e-waste and fits into small site. The discarded devices are first placed into module to break them down. The next module involves special robot for identification of useful parts. Another module then involves using small furnace which transforms these parts into valuable materials by using precisely controlled temperature process developed via extensive research.
Use of e-waste: These transformed materials from the micro-factory includes metal alloys and range of micromaterials. These can be used in industrial-grade ceramics and specific quality plastics from computers, printers and other discarded sources can be used to produce filaments suitable for 3D-printing applications. The metal alloys can be used as metal components for new or existing manufacturing processes, she said.
The e-waste microfactory has the potential to reduce the rapidly growing problem of vast amounts of e-waste causing environmental harm and going into landfill. It offers a cost-effective solution to one of the greatest environmental challenges of our age. The microfactory presents solution to burning and burying waste items that contain valuable materials that can be transformed into value-added substances and products to meet existing and new industry and consumer demands