Sixty-two per cent people are not aware about electronic waste or e-waste and only know the term, claims a survey conducted by a group of students from St Xavier’s College. Of the 1,000 people surveyed by the students in a span of two months, 90 per cent said that they were not aware of the agencies processing e-waste.
E-waste refers to discarded electronic devices. The students conducted the research as a part of their special course module in semester-III. The research was done by eight second-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) students. professor Avkash Jadhav, who monitored the research, said, “The biggest challenge is the lack of awareness among people about e-waste processing. Most of the times, electronic products are dumped in garbage bins and it is not realised that these have to be treated separately and cannot be merged in the same processing units.”
Jadhav, a nominated Sena councillor in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), had also taken up the subject of e-waste processing in the general body meeting of the civic body.
Among other findings, the students also discovered that 94 per cent people felt that there was a need to create more awareness among citizens about e-waste. According to the survey, a total of 82 per cent said that it posed a threat to the environment and 79 per cent said that it was a health hazard.
Steffi D Arakkal, a group member, said, “I surveyed at least 100 people across age groups. Most of the people in my age group only associated waste processing with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and most of the older citizens did not know anything about it. We were really surprised at the lack of awareness among people. However, it was an amazing experience as we got to learn about a lot of issues.”
According to a study on ‘electronic waste management in India’, conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India and Frost and Sullivan in April 2014, Mumbai generates 96,000 tonnes of the total 12.5 lakh tonnes of e-waste in the country, every year.
The figure is highest among other metros such as Delhi-NCR and Bangalore which produce 67,000 and 57,000 tonnes of e-waste every year, respectively, the study says.