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India becoming a dumping ground for e-wastes
September 26, 2004 18:55 IST
India along with other Asian countries like Pakistan and China are increasingly becoming a dumping ground for hazardous wastes from old computers and electronic items, an environment organisation warned on Sunday in New Delhi calling for an immediate bar on the illegal import of e-wastes for recycling.
Although there are no official figures to back the claims of the quantity of e-wastes being dumped in the country, Toxics Link, a Delhi-based NGO, in an investigative report found that 70 per cent electronic wastes collected from recycling units in the capital was actually exported or dumped by developed countries such as UK and USA.
According to British Pollution watchdog, Environment Agency, e-waste exports are worth hundreds of millions of pounds. While this waste is deliberately dumped on Asian countries by companies trying to avoid high disposal costs at home, it has a ready market in the developing world for usable equipment such as computers and TVs.
In the year 2003, such wastes involved tens of thousands of old computers, 500,000 TVs, three million refrigerators, 1,60,000 tonnes of other electrical equipment and millions of discarded mobile phones, all sent to Asian nations like Indian, China and Pakistan, it said.
Another recent report in the British daily Guardian said last year 23,000 tonnes of IT and other electronic equipment was shipped out illegally, mostly to China, West Africa, Pakistan and India.
"We have been repeatedly stating over two years that tonnes of e-waste is landing in various ports of India for recycling, but we are not able to substantiate our statements on e-waste imports because there is no access to customs data in this country," said Ravi Agarwal, Director, Toxics Links.
Most of such imports are mislabelled, said K S Sudhakar of Toxics Link, Chennai, who traced one such container of
While in the developed world the trade in such goods is regulated under the Basel convention, in India, which has yet
The electronic waste contains several hazardous and toxic materials like lead, mercury, cadmium, PVC plastics and
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