A two day national conference on e-waste management in Jameshdur is shedding some interesting insights into one of the most under looked aspects of electronics and information industry. Pranabesh Ray, Dean (Academics), XLRI – Xavier School of Management, is of the opinion that, if processed properly, fifty pounds of gold and 20,000 pounds of copper can be extracted from one million discarded cell phones, and this amounts to more than what could be obtained through mining!
While emphasizing on the need for proper management of e-waste, he said about 64.5 million tonnes of e-waste are generated annually across the globe, of which only around 40 per cent is processed properly. This volume is increasing day by day and if unchecked, it will acquire a weight almost equivalent to 200 Empire State buildings. India ranked third in the world in e-waste generation per annum and generated 1.7 million tonnes of e-waste in 2014.
According to Mr. Ray, only 70 per cent of discarded electronic gadgets end up in landfills, thus contaminating the environment with hazardous materials and only 30 per cent of it is recycled. He said the raise in volume is due to human greed while adding that users prefer to change cell phones even when they are working. The problem is also amplified by illegal dumping of dysfunctional products by developed countries that do so under the pretext that the products are for re-use.
The conference was organised by Centre for Global Management and Responsible Leadership (CGMRL) at XLRI – Xavier School of Management, University of Queensland, Australia and IIT, Kharagpur.