In the Delhi National Capital Region, with its growing numbers of internet device owning individuals, and a concentration of IT companies in Gurgaon generating electronic waste, it is not unusual to see electronic “carcasses” offloaded by their erstwhile owners at garbage collection dumps as junk. The management of electronic equipment waste needs to be considered a matter of civic responsibility – an essential component of ‘Swatch Bharat Abhiyan’ – not only in NCR but in all urban centres in the country.
An orderly collection of electronic waste for recycling and its non-toxic disposal is being pro-actively promoted in Bengaluru. The city has a high concentration of foreign and Indian internet research industry establishments – and legions of internet technology institution graduates flocking in from all over the country, who liberally use multiple devices in their personal lives too. For electronic waste collection, beige cupboard-like receptacles, taller versions of postal mail collection letter boxes, are placed in market centres. They have a large opening with a lid in front.
Acceptable small items like cellular phones, personal computer keyboards and cables are listed on the facade. A mobile telephone number is painted on the cupboard, informing that larger items like laptops, disused desktop personal computer central processing units (CPUs), old time cathode ray tube (CRT)-based monitors, universal power supply (UPS) units and their storage batteries, would be collected from wherever they are offered.
Visitors to Bengaluru garden city – a quiet post-Colonial retirement haven till 35 years ago — now a centre of audacious start-ups, with tales of exceptional entrepreneurship in software miracles and emerging ‘Unicorns’– are pleasantly surprised at the splendid system of minivans gathering electronic waste for recycling. These vans have collection centre address and contact Phone numbers painted on their sides, as they visit shopping rows and mushrooming ‘paying guest’ hostels, where myriads of students and single techies live.
(Contributed by: Deepak Razdan, Samir Pal & Asha Ramachandran)