ELECTRONIC WASTE – AN EMERGING THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTHK.V.S. PRASAD
Electronics industry is the worldÂ’s largest and fastest growing manufacturing industry. Electronic waste (E-waste) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the country. E-Waste is generated from old, discarded or obsolete electronic products. E-Waste can be toxic in nature because it contains hazardous metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium that negatively impact the environment and human health. In India as well as other developing countries, the majority of electronic products are not recycled, which poses a serious environmental and health risk. E-waste problem is of global concern due to the production and disposal of waste in a globalized world. India is the fifth biggest producer of e-waste in the world, behind the U.S., China, Japan and Germany; discarding 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) of electronic and electrical equipment in 2014. Most E-waste in the world in 2014 was generated in Asia at 16 Mt, i.e. 3.7 kg per inhabitant. The top three Asian nations with the highest E-waste generation in absolute quantities are China (6.0 Mt), Japan (2.2 Mt) and India (1.7 Mt). The challenge is to develop innovative and cost- effective solutions to decontaminate polluted environments due to E-waste, to make them safe for human habitation and consumption, and to protect the functioning of the ecosystems which support life. Keeping this in view, the author made an attempt to analyze the concept and impact of E-waste on environment and health as the main aim of the paper. It also discusses the sources, composition, reasons and hazards of E-waste.
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