A study by Assocham-cKinetics predicts that India is likely to generate 52 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste by 2020 and thus become one of the world's major electronic waste generators. It further said India's e-waste is growing at 30% per annum. The fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, India currently generates 18 lakh metric tonnes.
According to the study on Electronic Waste Management in India, the global volume of e-waste generated is also expected to reach from 93.5 million tonnes to 130 million tonnes in 2018 at an annual growth rate of 17.6%, says the study.
E-waste includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, printed circuit boards, mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, LCD/Plasma televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and so on.
Computer equipment accounts for almost 70% of e-waste material followed by telecommunication equipment (12%), electrical equipment (8%) and medical equipment (7%). Household e-waste accounts for the remaining 4%.
Moreover, the study found that only 1.5% of the country's total e-waste gets recycled owing to poor infrastructure and legislation. This diminishes natural resources and causes irreparable damage to the environment. More than 95% of e-waste generated is managed by the unorganised sector and scrap dealers who dismantle the product instead of recycling it.
According to the study, the main sources of electronic waste in India are the government and the public and private (industrial) sectors, which account for almost 75% of the total waste generation. The contribution of individual households stands at 16%.
In India, about 4 lakh to 5 lakh child labourers in the age group of 10-15 years are engaged in various e-waste management activities in various yards and recycling workshops, but lack adequate protection and safeguards, said DS Rawat, secretary general of Assocham while releasing the paper.