The social, economic and technological growth of a developing society has resulted in rapid product obsolescence which in turn has become a new environmental challenge – i.e., ‘electronics waste’ (e-waste). Electronic waste has not been a problem as long as there were a few computers or other electronic devices on earth. With the increasing use of computers/electronic devices, our planet has become a dump house for electronic wastes. Electronic products often contain hazardous materials that lead to environmental degradation when they are destroyed. It is an emerging problem given the volumes of e-waste being generated. E-waste, particularly, computer waste has complicated the immense task of solid waste management, with the developed countries dumping their outdated electronic products in developing countries as one of their e-waste management techniques. This paper highlights the damaging impact of e-waste on environment and human health as well as various approaches to deal with it, in the light of initiatives in developing countries. It broadly discusses the composition, criticality and control of e-waste in developing countries, particularly in India.
Keywords: electronics waste, e-waste, environmental degradation, solid waste