Only a fifth of the world’s electronic waste is collected or recycled under appropriate conditions, even though the amount produced globally in 2016 was enough to build 4,500 Eiffel Towers, a United Nations-backed report said on Wednesday.
India generated nearly 2 million tonnes of electronic waste last year, of the 44.7 million tonnes produced globally. The quota of the world’s population that needs to follow e-waste regulations rose to 66% after India brought in a legislation in 2016, the report said.
The Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 report was published by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union, with the United Nations University and International Solid Waste Association.
According to the research, China generates the highest quantity of electronic waste in the world – 7.2 million tonnes – with a per-capita generation of 5.2 kg, compared with India’s 1.5 kg.
Cheaper smartphones in India and China was one of the trends, the report said, that contributed to rising electronic waste. “This means that more people will be able to afford purchasing new equipment, and that more equipment will eventually be discarded,” the study said.
A higher number of people having multiple devices, growth in cloud computing and more data centres are also reasons for rising e-waste quantities, the research found. Electronics imports, which fuel one of the fastest growing electronics industries in the world, also contributed to India’s production of e-waste.