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India in dire need of e-waste segregation, management services: ESR Gopal

IIT-B professor emeritus ESR Gopal believes that absence of proper technology stops us digging into a treasure torve called e-waste that consists of expensive metals like gold and platinum

, TNN|
Updated: Feb 11, 2013, 06.28 PM IST
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Sustainable e-waste management can gain momentum if this industry is encouraged to grow further.
Sustainable e-waste management can gain momentum if this industry is encouraged to grow further.

NAGPUR: One kind of waste that human beings have failed to deal with until now is electronic waste. Despite the fact that this waste is actually a treasure trove of expensive metals, like gold and platinum, among others, not much is done by way of recycling it.

Talking about the electronic nose, a sensory device to detect smells, being developed by city-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) and Kolkata-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, professor emeritus in Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science ESR Gopal spoke about the need of an e-waste sensor. He also stressed the need for proper disposal of ewaste by taking out recyclable metals and separating them, giving the example of India's Silicon City Bangalore as a city that is in dire need of such a service.

"There is a lot of plastic in the electronic waste, which is difficult to get rid of, as it does not degrade naturally and burning it releases gases harmful for human health. The only option is recycling it. Another component is chlorine which has to be decomposed at 1,200 degrees, a procedure that can be very expensive," he said. He pointed out that though e-waste consists of copper, diamonds, gold and platinum, most companies other than giants like Apple, Microsoft and Nokia say it is uneconomic to exploit it.

"India alone deals with waste of one kind - lead acid batteries. Unfortunately, the method used to do that is also such that it has adverse effect on human health," said Gopal. He believes that these problems exist only because we are yet to devise the right technology to do it.

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