Tuesday, March 16, 2010

great toxic links alert

Change makers - Join the fight against electronic waste
By Toxics Link, 10/03/2010
Source: Toxics Link

E-waste is a critical issue facing India today. With rapid technological advancement and growing obsolescence rate, the country is saddled with huge generation of this new stream of waste. The issue is not just of massive quantity but also of toxic nature of this waste. E-waste contains lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, PVC, Brominated Flame Retardants and other toxics and potentially hazardous substances, which can cause damage to our health and environment.

E-waste is end-of-life equipments like computers, mobiles, televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, electric wires, MP3 and DVD players etc, which run on electricity. Every discarded electrical and electronic gadget adds to the pollution and exposes millions of people to hazardous toxins. The issues is further complicated in India due to rudimentary processes used in the informal recycling sector where majority of it is currently recycled.

There have been attempts to change the situation, which has resulted in greater awareness in the issue and also setting up of authorized recyclers with environmentally sound recycling technologies. But there is still lot to be done.

E-waste is generated mainly from two sources- domestic and businesses. In recent times, though there have been some attempts to collect wastes from corporate or businesses; there has been hardly any initiative to provide this facility to households or individuals. This means the common man does not have a way of disposing off this hazardous waste in a safe manner.

Children, who are the real change makers of any society, can also take a lead in this and help find solutions. The students of St. Paul’s School, New Delhi in collaboration with Toxics Link, have taken up one such initiative and have set up a collection system for this hazardous E waste in their school.

Under an initiative by Toxics Link, St Paul’s school’s team of eleven students along with their teacher Mrs Manju Chawla, have initiated this task of spreading the word about e waste hazards and the need for its safe management. A special bin has now been placed in the school campus wherein the students drop E waste generated within the school premises and also bring E-waste from their respective homes. This waste is then sent to an E-waste recycler, authorised by Central Pollution Control Board for safe recycling.

They have plans to include the school neighborhood in the collection programme for e waste, thus involving peoples participation in finding solution to this complex issue of managing e waste.

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