Floodgates for electronic waste | HT Tech

Floodgates for electronic waste

It?s possible that India is actually going to invite global electronic waste after the budget ended duties on import of computers.

| Updated on: Jul 20 2004, 16:46 IST

It's possible that India is actually going to invite global electronic waste after the budget ended duties on import of computers.

We already know that India receives huge amounts of electronic wastes, which include out-dated TVs, cell-phones, computers and various digital equipment. This comes to us from many countries who find it too expensive to recycle it themselves.

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For example, in the last two years, reports estimate that the UK has sent 2 million old computers and 1 million old TVs to countries like India and China.

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In India, this results in a big, toxic mess. The electronic goods are broken by hand, some parts burned to recover various elements and the rest dumped. This results in severely harming the health of the workers in India, not to mention the environmental pollution.

DDT factory in Delhi

An environmentalist with a keen knowledge about toxics last week visited the abandoned government-owned Hindustan Insecticide Ltd (HIL) factory that made DDT, along with pollution control officials. The visit was on the recommendation of the Supreme Court monitoring committee (on hazardous waste). His report indicates that HIL, from the section still under it, could still be poisoning Delhi despite the fact that the plant is closed now.

At the HIL factory, the Green saw possible toxic sludge oozing out of a container, while tonnes of unidentified compounds lay in the open and seeped into the soil and water. But no attempts has been made to minimise the damage.

In order to learn the truth, let's do a public evaluation and learn who's done what wrong. It's public health, isn't it?

Pesticide woes

Worse news. In Eloor, Kerala, HIL's Endosulfan plant recently caught fire. Endosulfan is also a highly dangerous pesticide that has been in the news because of its aerial spraying on cashew crops and the tragic impact on children and women.

It should have been stopped long ago. Currently, no one is sure about the impact, but it couldn't be good. Usually, when citizens raise their voices, they are silenced by legal notices. But when it's a question of our own well-being and health, why can't we demand greater public  accountability, even punishment?

(If you feel for Planet Earth then write to Earthwatch1@rediffmail.com)

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First Published Date: 14 Jul, 18:11 IST