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Seminar on E-waste management at HK Avenue

Rotary Club of Ahmedabad Elite and Nanoland Ltd. conducted a seminar cum workshop on “Electronic Waste Management,” on 1st of September, 2018 at HK Avenue, 19 Swastik Society, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, India. The seminar was delivered by Ms. Varsha Ganguly from Urmul Rural Health Research and Development Trust and Ms Varsha Mehta from SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association). They displayed a very informative power point presentation on E-waste management and its new legal framework from its segregation to disposal in a very smart manner. The RC Elite and Nanoland have also contributed in the disposal of its Electronic waste.

But what is Electronic waste first of all? How it has come into limelight? E-waste or Electronic Waste is any waste which is formed from discarded electronic devices and components as well as substances involved in their manufacture and use. The disposal of e-waste has become havoc, as these contain parts that do not generally degrade easily as they are made of toxic metals and plastics. They contain toxic chemicals as well, which interferes with human’s health and can cause serious health issues. With the increasing technology and the race to achieve great power amongst many countries, have given some room to these waste to prosper effectively. But the problem comes in disposing these. Disposing, segregating and coming out with a conclusion with these waste has become a major challenge. Some recyclers have come out with a solution of getting rid of this type of waste, but it involves human labourship. Manually dismantling parts and segregating this according to the priority seems to be a new way of getting rid of this waste. The removed parts are then recycled again, some are transported to other electronic companies where they can be reused again, some are just left out and doesn’t make its way through. But now this process has possessed a threat on human health as the people doing this are vulnerable to many types’ harmful chemicals and gases which deteriorate their health everyday silently.

Dr. Varsha Ganguly from Urmul Rural Health, Research and Development along with Ms. Varsha Mehta from SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) has come up with innovative ideas of dealing with this type of waste. Urmul is working for electronic waste in four states, namely, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. As part of e-waste programme, Urmul Trust is a collaborative partner of International Finance Corporation – IFC, a group of The World Bank and Karo Sambhav Private Limited. Karo Sambhav is a PRO – Producer Responsibility Organisations for brands like Apple, Dell, HP and nine more producers. Dr Ganguly is mainly engaged with policy advocacy with the state governments and awareness raising among bulk consumers. With her efforts, Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) has appointed Karo Sambhav as e-waste collector for the state of Goa from this month, September 2018. Urmul Trust has enrolled more than 2,000 stakeholders across four states. Through MoU with waste management organisations, she has organised more than 400 waste pickers who are now working for electronic waste. She is supported by e-waste collection operation team and as a result Urmul has collected almost 200 metric ton e-waste in last nine months.

Ms Varsha Mehta is working as a coordinator with SEWA – Self Employed Women’s Association. She is associated with SEWA for 10 years and handling e-waste programme since five years. As part of this programme, she has organised waste pickers who are SEWA members and have made them aware about scientific dismantling and recycling as well as have undertaken their capacity building measures. With this team, they are running a campaign on e-waste management with schools, call centers, and repairing shops in Ahmedabad.

Around the world, a number of initiatives have arisen to address the issue of e-waste, by promoting the reuse of electronic devices (e-cycling) and mandating that safer alternatives to hazardous substances be used in their manufacture whenever possible. In Europe, legislation has been drafted to deal with the problem, including the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Basel Convention. In the United States, initiatives have mostly come from the private sector, such as eBay's Rethink project.


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