Bangalore: India would be confronted with the threat of accumulation of e-waste in the coming years if necessary policy and regulations are not put in place to check its growth now, says a paper presented at the recently held 'Kerala Environment Congress-2010.'
The total e-waste in different forms in the country would now come to around more than 1.46 lakh tonnes per year and this is expected to exceed eight lakh tonnes by 2012, Kurian Joseph, Assistant Professor, Environmental Engineering, Centre for Environmental Studies, Anna University, Chennai said.
Stating that e-waste has given rise to new environmental challenges,Joseph said Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh generate 70 percent of the total e-waste in the country.
Quoting a study by an NGO,he said Bangalore city with 1,322 software companies, 36 hardware units and business process outsourcing units disposes 8000 tonnes of waste per year.
The biggest concern with e-waste was the presence of toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic, printer cartridge inks and toners that pose significant health risks, he said.
These components can contaminate soil, groundwater and air as well as affect the workers of the recycling units and the community living around it, he said.
Iron and steel were the most common materials found and accounted for half of the total E-wastes, followed by plastics and Non-ferrous metals, he said.
'Toxic substances and other harmful substances are usually concentrated in printed circuit boards' he said in the paper titled 'Electronic Waste Management-An Indian Outlook'.
'Though, the share of e-waste may not be alarming at this stage, it is necessary to take preventive steps to contain this, before it reaches unmanageable proportions', he said.
Advocating an e-waste Policy for the country, he said main objectives should be minimising e-waste generation,using the e-waste for beneficial purposes through environment friendly recycling process and ensuring environmentally sound disposal of residual waste.