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Millennium Post

E-waste central, a claim to fame?

If the unimaginably high figures, generated by the watchdogs with an eye on India’s electronic waste problem, are anything to go by, then we are clearly standing at the edge of a precipice that overlooks a bottomless pit of environmental pollution. The numbers are scary to say the least, with India dealing with as much as 4,362 metric kilo tone of electronic and electrical equipment (EEEs) that produced about 2,751 metric kilo tone of e-waste containing toxic substances like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants. In fact, according to latest UN reports, a major chunk of the e-waste export of the developed world, particularly that by the US, is likely to end up in India, since China and Malaysia, also plagued with tackling unnaturally high e-waste disposal problem, are upping the ante and closing their doors to global electronic waste industry. It is shameful that the developing world is being forced into becoming a dumpyard of global e-waste, with India at the top of the list of countries affected by this growing trend. Why should the global south become a victim of the unbridled material aspiration of the developed world, even as the emerging superpowers such as China and India are proving to be equally rapacious in their hunger for more non-biodegradable, environmentally unsound products?

While the electrical and electronic revolution has completely reconfigured human civilisation, turning the world into a global village with everyone practically a click away from each other, there has also been the unwarranted consequences of that relentless material and technological progress. Not only the world, but also India itself produces unfathomable amounts of electronic waste, the by product of the enormous IT industry that not just is a sizeable part of India’s own service sector, but perhaps is the fulcrum of the global economic and financial activities. Along with pollution from fossil fuels, the electronic waste products pose the biggest challenge in the years to come and if we want a pollution-free world, we must act now.
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