Individual Awareness on Electronic Waste and Its Management - An Online Survey

Dr.K. Sri Lakshmi, Reena Rana, Dr.M. Anji Reddy

India produced close to 3.2 million tonnes (MT) of electronic trash in FY2021 and holds third position after China and USA in the e-waste generation ranking (E-waste, annual report, CPCB 2022). While only 3.54 lakh tonnes of e-waste were collected and processed during this time. This number is expected to rise further as a result of the country's rapid urbanization, high rates of population growth, high demand for electronic devices, and disposal of these products. Additionally, e-waste is linked to both environmental degradation and detrimental effects on human health. Therefore, in order to manage and maybe reduce this waste stream, environmental knowledge is essential. In this research, we provide the results of a survey that looked at household awareness and knowledge about e-waste across India. We used questionnaires prepared by Google form and shared with people among all age groups. The survey was conducted during October and November 2022. We received 500 responses from 15 states across India. According to the findings, 91% of respondents are aware of e-waste, but 50% of the respondents are not aware of what it actually constitutes. Individuals do not have any specific idea on how to dispose-off e-waste, and 77% say that they are aware that e-waste contains mercury, lead, and cadmium, and also have an idea that improper disposal causes environmental problems. However, 67% of them are concerned about the disposal of laptops, desktops, and cell phones and 30% of them feel this section of e-waste carries sensitive personal information. E-waste was primarily disposed of by illegal dumping or sold as scrap with other household wastes by 26% of respondents, 13.6% go for vendor buyback or exchange, only 22% go for potential reuse of the waste, and long-term storage at home done by 30%. Although this trash is currently handled and stored improperly, most respondents (84.2%) were eager to take part in its management as long as they were supplied with the necessary information (89.9%) on its safe disposal and recycling. Last but not least, based on the age group profile of respondents, we observed no statistically significant association among their current awareness levels of e-waste. They are also desired to participate in its management. From the survey, we would like to campaign for legislative interventions like extended producer responsibility schemes to be created for efficient e-waste management and recycling. Digital fasting or e-fasting is a potential tool for the reduction of e-waste. It deals with the reduction of technology use by turning off notifications, and mobile off while working and setting limits on the amount of time we spend on technology on a daily basis. This not only is helpful for individuals but also minimizes e-waste. Finally, it is suggested to the manufacturers to produce greener electronics.

Volume 15 | Issue 1

Pages: 1-6