How the e-waste you produce is providing poor children with a dangerous living

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Source: The post is based on the article “How the e-waste you produce is providing poor children with a dangerous living” published in Indian Express on 13th February 2023.

What is the News?

The extraction of e-waste is usually performed by Children. This is a crude and hazardous process that goes unregulated.

What is e-waste?

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What is the present state of India’s e-waste problem?

According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, the world dumped 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste in 2019. India produced 3.2 million metric tons of e-waste, much of which is dumped for dismantling and recycling with no regulations.

India has tried to tackle this unregulated industry and introduced a series of laws in 2011 and 2016 mandating the authorization and registration of all e-waste recycling facilities, along with directives for workers to use protective equipment while dismantling the waste.

However, activists say these laws are not strongly enforced and the majority of the e-waste market in India remains unregulated.

How Children are vulnerable to e-waste?

Children are particularly vulnerable due to their smaller size, less developed organs and immune systems, and rapid rate of growth and development. 

For instance, children breathe more rapidly and ingest more food and water relative to their size than adults, thus absorbing relatively higher proportions of pollutants. Children are also less able to metabolize and eliminate hazardous substances from their bodies compared to adults.

Every day, many children suffer from serious skin diseases and chronic lung infections due to continuous exposure to chemical-laden toxins found in the metals.

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