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Electronic waste is recycled in appalling conditions in India

30 13 36
15.02.2019

ELECTRONIC waste is recycled in appalling conditions in India

The world produces 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) per year, according to a recent UN report, but only 20 percent is formally recycled. Much of the rest ends up in landfill, or is recycled informally in developing nations.

India generates more than two million tonnes of e-waste annually, and also imports undisclosed amounts of e-waste from other countries from around the world – including Australia.

We visited India to examine these conditions ourselves, and reveal some of the devastating effects e-waste recycling has on workers’ health and the environment.

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Indian e-waste

More than 95 percent of India’s e-waste is processed by a widely distributed network of informal workers of waste pickers.

They are often referred to as “kabadiwalas” or “raddiwalas” who collect, dismantle and recycle it and operate illegally outside of any regulated or formal organisational system. Little has changed since India introduced e-waste management legislation in 2016.

We visited e-waste dismantlers on Delhi’s outskirts.

Along the narrow and congested alleyways in Seelampur we encountered hundreds of people, including children, handling different types of electronic waste including discarded televisions, air-conditioners, computers, phones and batteries.

Squatting outside shop units they were busy dismantling these products and sorting circuit boards, capacitors, metals and........

© Asian Correspondent