Skip to main content

Five lakh child workers engaged in e-waste activities, mainly generated by industrial sectors: ASSOCHAM


Counterview Desk
India's top corporate body, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), has admitted that there are about four to five lakh child workers in the age group 10-15 engaged in various electronic waste (e-waste) activities alone. It does not, however, say what percentage does it form of the total number of child workers in India.
Pointing out that child workers are engaged in e-waste activities “without adequate protection and safeguards in various yards and recycling workshops”, ASSOCHAM secretary-general DS Rawat claimed, “The chamber has also strongly advocated the need to bring out effective legislation to prevent entry of child labour into its collection, segregation and distribution.”
Suggesting that child labour is particularly alarming because “India is emerging as one of the world's major electronic waste generators and likely to generate 52 lakh metric tonnes (MT) per annum by 2020 from the current level 18 lakh metric tonnes”, the study says, e-waste in India is “growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 30%.
As against this, the study, ‘Electronic Waste Management in India,’ carried out in association with cKinetics, says, “The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 130 million tons in 2018 from 93.5 million tons in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 17.6 percent from 2016 to 2018.”
“As Indians become richer and spend more electronic items and appliances, computer equipment accounts for almost 70% of e-waste material followed by telecommunication equipment (12%), electrical equipment (8%) and medical equipment (7%)”, the study says, adding, “Other equipment, including household e-crap account for the remaining 4%.”
“The sad part is that a mere 1.5% of India's total e-waste gets recycled due to poor infrastructure, legislation and framework which lead to a waste of diminishing natural resources, irreparable damage of environment and health of the people working in industry”, the study says.
“Over 95% of e-waste generated is managed by the unorganised sector and scrap dealers in this market, dismantle the disposed products instead of recycling it”, the study says, adding, “e-waste workers in India suffer from breathing problems, such as asthma and bronchitis. Many workers are children, who are unaware of the hazards and by the time they reach 35 to 40 years of age, they're incapable of working.”
“About two-thirds of e-waste workers in India suffering from respiratory ailments like breathing difficulties, irritation, coughing, choking, tremors problems who all are engaged in various e-waste (electronic waste) activities due to improper safeguards and dismantling workshops”, the study says.
“The recovery of metals like gold, platinum, copper and lead uses caustic soda and concentrated acids. The workers dip their hands in poisonous chemicals for long hours. They are also exposed to fumes of highly concentrated acid. Safety gear such as gloves, face masks and ventilation fans are virtually unheard of”, notes study.
The study believes, “Computers, televisions and mobile phones are most dangerous because they have high levels of lead, mercury and cadmium -- and they have short life-spans so are discarded more, adds the study.”
According to the study, the main sources of electronic waste are different the industrial sectors, which account for “almost 75% of total waste generation”, with the contribution of individual households being “relatively small at about 16 per cent.”

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.