E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their “useful life.” Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled.
According to the Comptroller and Auditor- General’s (CAG) report 4 lakh tonnes of electronic waste are generated in India annually. In 2005, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimated India’s e-waste at 1.47 lakh tonnes or 0.573 MT per day.
There are 10 States in India that contribute to 70 per cent of the total e-waste generated in the country, while 65 cities generate more than 60 per cent of the total e-waste in India. Among the 10 largest e-waste generating States, Maharashtra ranks first followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. According to the Basel Convention, wastes are substances or objects, which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of, or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national laws.
The problems associated with electronic waste are now being recognized. E-waste is highly complex to handle due to its composition. It is made up of multiple components some of which contain toxic substances that have an adverse impact on human health and environment if not handled properly. The waste from electronic products include toxic substances such as cadmium and lead in the circuit boards; lead oxide and cadmium in monitor CRTs; mercury in switches and flat screen monitors; cadmium in computer batteries; polychlorinated biphenyls in older capacitors and transformers; and brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, plastic casings, cables and PVC cable insulation that releases highly toxic dioxins and furans when burned to retrieve copper from the wires. Many of these substances are toxic and carcinogenic. The materials are complex and have been found to be difficult to recycle in an environmentally sustainable manner even in developed countries.
So How to resolve this problem of e-waste?
The young researchers of the ‘Biolicht’ group have found a solution on it. They have developed biodegradable electronic components using semiconductors and dyes made from plant extracts and insulators made of gelatin. Once thrown away, the components will rot like other organics. Also they have developed organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) which can be produced easily and at a low cost. The group aims to develop biodegradable inks for compostable foils that can be used as alternatives in printer arsenals.
Similar researches has been carried out by researchers in US. This inventions lead us to a brighter path of e-waste free Earth through organic electronics.
Though this technology is in early stages we can surely be assured of organic computers in coming years.
India do have a lot of potential in combining this research as early as possible because electronic revolution in India is rooting its legs. So if this technology is cultivated in our culture as early as possible it will be easier to regulate e-waste in near future
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