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What happens to e-waste: Your junked gadgets come back to you as toxic fumes

Source : Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Nov 2, 2017

New Delhi: Ever wondered where does all your old and worn-out gadgets go after you chuck them in the bin or sell them to the junk dealer? Experts say they come back to you in the form of toxic fumes and polluted water.These gadgets often land up in makeshift workshops, where metal is extracted of them using the crudest methods releasing a range of toxic elements.

According to the experts most people don’t realise the consequence of discarding e-waste, or any trash, in an improper manner. A report released by Toxics Link in 2016 had stated that 90% Delhiites don’t know how the trash must be disposed.
If they reach the dump yards, they are collected by rag pickers, who in turn, sell them to junk dealers after keeping the parts they can reuse. Even the junk dealer sells them to scrap aggregators. From the dealers, they reach the illegal dismantlers, who sell them to extractors.
“Once the gadgets reach the unauthorised extractors they are broken, burnt and bathed in acid to extract metals. This crude process emits toxic fumes and chemicals that make way into the drains, and then to rivers and water bodies. Chemicals from e-waste can also pass through the ground and contaminate the soil and groundwater. It all comes back to us in the form of polluted air and water,” said Swati Singh Sambyal of Centre for Science and Environment.


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