The Global E-waste Monitor 2020, A UN report on e-waste released on 2 Jul 2020, found that the world dumped a record 53.6 tonnes of e-waste which is an average of 7.3 kg e-waste per capita in the year 2019. The reports claim that China, USA and India produced 10.1 million tonnes, 6.9 million tonnes and 3.2 million tonnes of e-waste respectively in 2019. These three countries put together, accounted for nearly 38% of the world’s e-waste last year.

The said report claims that there has been a growth of 9.2 million tonnes of e-waste generation since 2014 where the global e-waste generated was 44.4 million tonnes. The report has also made a projection that at the same pace the world would generate 74.7 million tonnes of e-waste by 2030. The report also states that only 17.4% of the global e-waste produced was collected and recycled in 2019.

The report raises concern over non-disposal of the e-wastes and it goes on to says,”even countries with a formal e-waste management system in place are confronted with the relatively low collection and recycling rates.” It also termed e-waste as the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste.”

(Pic credits: E-waste Monitor Report 2020)

According to the Global E-waste Monitor report, India is the 3rd largest e-waste generator after China and USA. Though India is the third largest of e-waste, its per-capita contribution to hazardous waste, which is 2.4 kg is much below the global average of 7.3 kg. On the issue of recycling of the e-waste in India, Satish Sinha, a domain expert and Associate Director at Toxics Link, a Delhi based policy advocacy group said to media, “the recycling figures for India would also be close to the global figures since it is almost impossible to estimate the volumes being handled by the informal sector.”

In terms of disposal and recycling, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has reported that 312 dismantlers and recyclers have been authorization by 18 State/UT Pollution Control Boards/Committees for environmentally sound processing of e-waste with a cumulative annual capacity of 7,82,080 million tonnes.

It is estimated that 65 cities generate more than 60% of the total e-waste in India. Among the top ten cities generating e-waste, Mumbai ranks first followed by Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat & Nagpur. Main source of electronic waste in India are the government, public and private (industrial) sectors which contribute 70%. The contribution of the individual households is 15% and the rest being contributed by manufacturers.

(By: Gautam Kumar)

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