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Govt steps in as e-waste piles up

Tuesday 16 March 2004

NEW DELHI : Electronic waste is piling up. How much, nobody knows. So, the government will conduct rapid assessment studies in cities like Bangalore , Kolkata and Chennai and set up a group to evolve a policy for this mounting problem.

On the sidelines of a national meet on e-waste management Monday, Central Pollution Control Board chief V Rajagopalan said these studies could take six months or more. The group planned would, he said, involve the different stakeholders-government, industry, recyclers.

E-waste will become a big problem within a couple of years, said one official. ??We need to organise this.’’ There is tonnes of such waste lcying in government godowns, more is being indiscriminately dumped or stored much of it awaiting a government policy.

E-waste isn’t just computers it includes everything from cellphones, refrigerators and air-conditioners to TVs and washing machines. One estimate is that 6,000 tonnes of computer waste is already generated by Bangalore alone.

Another suggests three billion consumer electronics will be scra-pped in 10 years, with e-waste growing three times faster than other waste.

Unregulated disposal runs the risk of spreading pollutants as ill-paid wor-kers retrieve valued scrap such as lead, mercury, copper, gold and other metals in back alleys and homes.

But as the meet showed, organising e-waste disposal will not be easy - nor is industry willing to bear the entire organisational burden.

See online : Times of India


in Times of India, Tuesday, March 16, 2004.

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