E-waste piles up in Bangalore’s landfills

Published on March 10, 2022 by

Around 17-24 percent e-waste of  the total generated is getting recycled in Karnataka.

 March 10, 2022

Shubhangi Mishra

BengaluruSaahas, an enterprise running since 20 years with a mission to decrease and recycle e-waste, said that not more than 30 percent of e-waste got recycled. Data from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board showed that more than one-lakh metric tonnes of e-waste were generated in Karnataka in the financial year 2020-2021.

Project Co-coordinator at SAAHAS Zero Waste explained the unauthorized ways followed by the informal sector to dismantle e-waste. He said, “Around 17-24 percent e-waste of  the total generated is getting recycled in Karnataka. Rest of the e-waste is getting dumped and recycled in the informal sector. Unauthorized vendors don’t follow any guidelines while recycling the waste; they will not care about the safety measures for the laborers. These recyclers will recover the precious metals collected from the e-waste and dump the rest in the landfill. This is not the proper way to recycle and is wrong.”

Officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board said that out of the 146 dismantlers in Bengaluru city only 86 remained operational. The recyclers did not receive enough e-waste, which has impacted their revenue badly and forced many to shut down their businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic also made it difficult for dismantlers in the city to remain in the business because of the increase in cost and shortage in the collection of e-waste.

E-waste Department head at Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Rudresh Murthi, informed that than more than 50 percent of e-waste in the city comes from the IT sector. The department is planning to place e-waste collection bins at strategic locations across the city such as metro stations, malls, residential apartments, high court, Vidhan Soudha, Majestic, offices, etc. He added, “The e-waste collection campaign will help educate people and increase the collection process.”

Bengaluru is responsible for  approximately 80 percent of the e-waste generation in Karnataka. Due to unauthorized recycling, hazardous substances like mercury, lead and other heavy metals imposes hazard to the environment on a daily basis.

Stressing on the need of implementing an e-waste value chain in the city, Sandeep Anirudhan, an environmentalist, complained of the lack of a proper system for collecting and recycling e-waste. He added, “We don’t have a system, we have some crazy collection centers for collecting e-waste, which people are not even aware of. There seems to be a lack of logic in the entire structure which needs to be integrated soon.”

Experts working with a mission of attaining zero waste in the city urged the Centre and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to come up with strong audits for recyclers and the informal sector in order to improve the e-waste recycling process.










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