Prosperity, coupled with increasing affinity for electronic gadgets, particularly mobile phones, is fast converting provisional Capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun, into a virtual dump of hazardous e-wastes. According to a conservative estimate, Dehradun, once famous for its clean environment and greenery, is accumulating 2,000 metric tonnes of e-wastes every year.
On Saturday, Gati Foundation—a Dehradun based environmental action and advocacy group—released its first set of findings based on an extensive survey which covered 16 mobile outlets, 14 electronic repairs outlets, 7 e-waste scrap dealers and 138 citizen respondents .
The founder of the Gati foundation, Anoop Nautiyal said that 53 percent respondents were in the 18-25 age group and 31 percent were in the 26-40 years bracket.
He said that the survey found that 77 percent respondents did not have any information about the guidelines for e-waste management.
The survey found that at 72 percent the use and purchase of mobile phones is at top of e- waste in Doon. Used batteries, pencil cell and LED bulbs are the other major e-waste items.
Interestingly 51 percent of users according to the survey are disposing off their e-waste by handing it over to their local Kabadiwallas while most others were mainly discarding the e-waste in garbage or just storing the e-waste items at home. Staggering 92 percent respondents in the city were unaware about any registered e-waste recycler.
The survey found that while 83 percent respondents prefer to buy a new mobile 17 percent were satisfied with purchasing a second-hand mobile.
The report suggest that 48 percent respondents bought one new mobile, 25 percent two mobiles while 8 percent purchased three new mobiles during the last two years.
“Though corporate houses are expected to play a major role in the segregation, collection and disposal of their waste through the Extended Producer Responsibility route, 69 percent respondents in our survey were unaware about any form of corporate responsibility. Interestingly 60 percent were unaware about buy-back schemes points towards the fact that brands are not making enough efforts to create awareness at the customer levels about their return and exchange policies. 70 percent of respondents mentioned that they generate one to four pieces of e-waste during a one-year period which is a worrying sign,’’ Nautiyal said.
The founder of Gati Foundation added that it is high time for the corporate sector to come forward and create awareness at a massive scale about e-waste management. A mechanism for e- waste collection and recycling across the state should be simultaneously created, he said.