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Chennai Sits on Growing Pile of Electronic Waste

A recommendation by the TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board) to set up collection centers for electronic waste in Chennai is gathering dust with sources from corporations claiming that many people simply refuse to hand their goods over for free at such places.   The city generates over 30,000 tons of electronic waste, including the likes of old cell phones, each and every year, and that number is continuing to grow, being predicted to have reached by two lakh tons within 18 years by the year 2030.

Social activists and environmentalists are afraid that the free distribution of laptop computers and televisions will only add to the electronic waste heap, with lead and many other toxic substances that are contained within electronic waste posing a serious hazard to human health.   The great majority of the electronic waste that is generated by smaller computer firms tends to end up in landfills.

With the amount of electronic waste in dump sites such as Perungudi and Kodungaiyur only increasing over time, environmentalists believed that the proposed collection centers, which would have been spread throughout 15 zones, would have reduced the burden on existing dumpsites, yet the idea appears not to be viable.

“It looks tough because people don’t want to part with e-waste for free,” says a senior corporation official.   The annual electronic waste generation across the country was placed at 1.46 lakh tons by the Central Pollution Control Board back in 2005.