E-Waste, Chemical Toxicity, and Legislation in India

E-Waste, Chemical Toxicity, and Legislation in India

Prashant Mehta (National Law University Jodhpur, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7359-3.ch011
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In present digital age, we constantly upgrade or replace our numerous electronic devices due to continuous technological advances and short product life cycles. With increasing “market penetration” in developing countries, “replacement market” in developed countries, and “high obsolescence rate,” a large pile of e-waste is generated either internally or it is generated in developed countries and often ends up for recycling in developing countries. The current practices of e-waste management and poor awareness in India is posing a huge challenge to the environment regulators, governments, and policy makers as much work needs to be done at ground level to achieve sustainable results This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of India's current e-waste scenario, analyzes hazardous metals and considers environmental and health risks posed by them, understands existing legal framework and strategic interventions, and explores immediate technical solutions to manage and minimize its impact on all.
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Background Of Study

Solid waste management, which is already a mammoth task in India, is becoming more complicated by the invasion of e-waste, which has complex characteristics as it differs chemically and physically from urban or industrial waste. Each wave of technology creates a set of waste previously unknown by humans (Sikdar & Vaniya, 2014) making e-waste management a big issue in both developed and developing countries.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Environmental Sustainability: It is defined as could be defined as a condition of balance, resilience, and interconnectedness that allows human society to satisfy its needs while neither exceeding the capacity of its supporting ecosystems to continue to regenerate the services necessary to meet those needs nor by our actions diminishing biological diversity.

Recycling: It is the process of converting waste materials into reusable objects; dismantling, separating fractions, and recovering material in order to reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, energy usage, air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from land filling) from e-waste after the lifespan of the equipment.

Electronic Waste (E-Waste): It refers to EEE waste, including all components, subassemblies, and consumables which are part of the product destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal at the time of discarding.

Metal Poisoning: Toxic metals in certain form and dose sometimes imitate the action of an essential element in the body; interfere with the metabolic processes that cause illness (metal poisoning).

Occupational Hazard: It is risk accepted as a consequence of a particular occupation and they encompass chemical, biological, psychosocial, and physical hazards.

Dioxins and Furan: These are persistent environmental pollutants (POPs), formed as unintentional by-product during e-waste incineration to recover valuable metals.

Environmental Hazard: A substance, state or event which has the potential to threaten the surrounding natural environment that adversely affects people's health (Pollution and Natural disasters).

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