VISAKHAPATNAM: Taking Swacch and Swasth Bharat a step forward, Vizag city is soon going to get Andhra Pradesh’s first authorized e-waste collection and handling unit for safe disposal of electronic junk or waste. The eco-bins will be provided by the company Green Waves Recyclers free of cost and installed in colonies, institutes and industries from this month in the city.
Colony-wise e-waste awareness and collection camp would also be held from the coming weekend at places such as MVP Colony, Beach Road and Gajuwaka where pamphlets would be distributed to residents about harmful effects of unscientific e-waste disposal and how to dispose e-waste in the eco-bins. The first eco bin is to come up at Divi’s lab near Bheemili.
E-waste or electronic junk comprises old, disused electronic gadgets such as cell phones, electric lamps, tape-recorders, radio, ipod and stereo, CDs, DVDs, batteries, even old TV and computers, fax machines and so on.
According to AP Pollution Control Board, in Vizag division, around 321 metric tonnes of e-waste is generated annually while the unofficial figures are stated to be higher. But so far, AP’s proposed IT hub has no scientific e-waste disposal mechanism in place unlike IT hubs in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Around 25-30% of the e-waste is resold or exchanged based on online offers from electronic shops. The remaining are taken by unauthorised collectors for extraction of metals from the products or sometimes taken to Bengaluru and Hyderabad for processing.
Potluri Anil Chowdary, managing director of Green Waves Recyclers, said, “We are a group of eight people with environmental science as educational background, who want to do our bit for the environment. Initially, we have plans to set up 10 eco bins in the city as well as in the industrial areas. Later this year, we have plans to expand this facility to Kakinada, Rajahmundry and Vijayawada. But we decided to start with Vizag as being the IT hub of AP, more e-waste is generated in this city.”
Explaining the procedure for e-waste collection, Chowdary averred, “Once the eco-bins placed at colonies or apartments or industries are filled up, they can get in touch with us on the contact number and address provided on the eco-bins. We have our collection van and disposal unit at Mindi Village near Gajuwaka. Our van will collect the e-waste and bring it to Mindi. Here the e-waste will be dismantled and segregated. The hazardous waste would be sent to a company in Mumbai, while the non-hazardous parts such as plastics, scrap, iron, steel, other metals like copper would be segregated sold to respective recyclers. In fact, the reusable parts can be put to various use including designing decorative items.”
It would cost around Rs 5,000 to set up each eco-bin while maintenance and services would be done by the GWR, informed Chowdary. A set of keys to unlock the eco-bin would be provided to the residents or respective organisations where the bin has been installed and another set of keys would be with GWR.
Meanwhile, environment lovers in the city too are looking forward to such eco-bins. S Ravi Kanth Reddy, senior manager (CSR) at Fluentgrid Limited and founder president of NGO Meecons (Mother Earth Environment Consciousness Society), said, “We have spoken to GRW and would like to place an eco-bin at Kirlampudi Colony at Beach Road as we want to develop it as Vizag’s first smart colony.”
World Health Organization (WHO) studies have proved that radiation is emitted from non-biodegradable e-waste, especially discarded cell phones and computer chips even if they are no longer in use and the harmful waves are a perennial source of radiation in the environment. In Vizag, used batteries and other e-waste are discarded into the seas, which are known to harm aquatic life too because they contain leach heavy metals like mercury and lead.