Srinagar: To decrease the electronic waste pollution, J&K Pollution Control Board (PCB) has started the first-ever door-to-door waste collection of discarded gadgets and devices.
Recently, people in Kashmir are being informed about the e-waste collection project through ads in the media.
Speaking about the initiative, PCB Member Secretary B M Sharma said electric waste was one of the most-challenging issues owing to the massive impact it has on the ecology. He said that the drive was meant to create awareness among the individuals and the bulk of consumers about the hazards of e-waste disposal unscientifically and the facilities to save the environment.
“We hope to generate mass awareness about how the e-waste damages the fragile ecosystem of J&K but now there is a body at their doorsteps to help them be environment-friendly with the massive bulk of waste from their gadgets and devices,” he said.
PCB Senior Scientist Anuradha Gupta said that India was the third-largest producer of electronic waste.
She said a huge quantity of e-waste was brought into the country in the guise of second-hand computers and electronic items and most people were unaware of how this posed a risk to the environment.
Gupta said that most consumers would either keep the scrap of electronics stored in their homes or dispose it of with a scrap vendor.
“The scrap vendors dispose of the waste in a very crude manner and end up harming the ecology and also losing the precious metals that can be extracted from this waste,” she said.
Gupta said that the scrap could yield precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and other metals if recycled properly.
The PCB has roped in recyclers with required infrastructure and is collecting scrap to channelise it to reduce the impact on ecology.
“No doubt the consumers will have a little less payback from their scrap but they will be acting as responsible citizens and doing their bit in reducing harm to nature with their ever-increasing bulk of e-waste,” Gupta said.
There are 25 registered recyclers of e-waste in India and only one in J&K that is located in Jammu.
The government is setting up an integrated recycling plant in Jammu and the collection centers are being set up across the districts. e-waste contains hazardous chemicals and metals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, polybromates, lithium and barium.
These components are dangerous for human health and many of these are known to cause anomalies and malignancies. Their harmful effects on the brain, kidney, liver and other organs have been documented by many researchers.
The disposal of e-wastes in an unscientific manner leads to their seeping into food and water cycles and inevitably reaching the human body.