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BRIEF COMMUNICATION
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 178-181
 

Exploring the awareness regarding e-waste and its management among electronic repair workers and scrap dealers of South Delhi, India


1 Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, Haryana, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital, NewDelhi, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Ram Manohar Lohiya Hospital, NewDelhi, India
4 Department of Community Medicine, SGT University, Gurugram, India

Date of Submission01-Mar-2019
Date of Decision25-May-2020
Date of Acceptance18-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication9-Oct-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sneha Kumari
Address-Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, NH-3, behind BK Hospital, New Industrial Town, Faridabad-121012, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_48_19

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  Abstract 


Introduction: In India, E-waste and its proper disposal is an emerging environmental and public health issue.
Aim and Objectives: To assess the level of awareness regarding E-waste and its management among the electronic repair workers and scrap dealers of Delhi.
Material and Methods: It was a community based, cross-sectional, descriptive study, was of one year (1st April, 2015-31st March, 2016). Electronic repair workers and scrap dealers were included after getting their written consent and selected by non-probability convenient sampling. A pre-tested, semi- structured, interviewer administered questionnaire was used. The data was entered in MS Excel and was analyzed using the SPSS version 21.0.
Results: A total of 300 workers i.e. 150 electronic repair workers and 150 scrap dealers participated. Most of the electronic repair workers (57%) and scrap dealers (48%) were of 20-39 yrs old. 70% of electronic repair workers and 79% of scrap dealers had not heard about e-waste. As education among these groups increases, awareness regarding E-waste also increased and it was statistically significant.
Conclusion: Adequate IEC (Information, education and communication) services focusing on health hazards of E-waste should be widely disseminated.


Keywords: E-waste, electronic repair workers, scrap dealers, awareness


How to cite this article:
Kumari S, Sharma P, Panesar S, Chandrawanshi L, Yadav G, Jugal K. Exploring the awareness regarding e-waste and its management among electronic repair workers and scrap dealers of South Delhi, India. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2021;25:178-81

How to cite this URL:
Kumari S, Sharma P, Panesar S, Chandrawanshi L, Yadav G, Jugal K. Exploring the awareness regarding e-waste and its management among electronic repair workers and scrap dealers of South Delhi, India. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 6];25:178-81. Available from: https://www.ijoem.com/text.asp?2021/25/3/178/327922





  Introduction Top


Disposal of e-waste is an emerging global environmental and public health issue, as this waste has become the most rapidly growing segment of the formal municipal waste stream in the world.[1] E-waste or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) are loosely discarded, surplus, obsolete, broken, electrical or electronic devices.[2] Disposed electronics act as a secondary resource due to their suitability for reuse.[3]

In India, current e-waste management practices are followed in a disorganised manner mostly by informal system, which may cause deleterious impacts on human health and ecology. Delhi contributes 9729.2 tonnes of e-waste and is among the largest e waste generators in India (country level WEE assessment by IRGSSA 2005).[5],[6] Around 25,000 workers including children are involved in crude dismantling units in Delhi alone where 10,000–20,000 tonnes of e-waste is handled every year by bare hands.[7] Improper dismantling and processing of e-waste render it perilous to human health and our ecosystem.

In most urban slum areas, over 95% of the e-waste is treated and processed, where untrained workers carry out the dangerous procedures without personal protective equipment.[8],[9] Electronic repair workers and scrap dealers play an important role in e-waste management. Therefore, an assessment of these groups is vital to understand their perception regarding management of e-waste and associated health risks and hazards.


  Material and Methods Top


Study place

Delhi, the capital of India and being the second largest e-waste generator city in India was selected as our study place. South Delhi is the central area of Delhi, which caters a major proportion of population. According to the 2011 census South Delhi has a population of 2,731,929. Inside South Delhi, study areas were selected by simple random sampling. Selected areas were Green Park, Yusufsarai, Aliganj, Kotla, Hauzkhas, Safdarjung Enclave.

Study design and duration

The present study was a community based, cross-sectional, descriptive study. Study duration was 1 year (1st April 2016-31st March 2016).

Inclusion criteria

  • Mobile repair worker and scrap dealers-Those people, who have their shops in South Delhi and were present at the time of interview and gave consent.
  • Electronics covered in study were mobile phones and laptops (As they are among the maximum used electronics and hence large contributors to E-waste generation). Also documented from one of the study done by ASSOCHAM-KPMG.[10]


Sample size calculation

Sample size was calculated on the basis of one of the previous study in which knowledge about e-waste among informal sector in Delhi found to be 23%[11] and adding non-response rate of about 10%, final sample size came out to be 300. Thus, 150 mobile repair workers and 150 scrap dealers were included in the present study.

Sampling technique and tool

As we were not having complete list of electronic repair workers and scrap dealers of selected areas of South Delhi so, we did convenient sampling to select participants, who met our inclusion criteria study till our sample size reached. A pre-tested, semi-structured, interviewer administered questionnaire was used as study tool which were translated in Hindi also.

Ethical consideration

Informed written consent was taken from each participant prior to interview and adequate approval was taken from the competent authority.

Statistical analysis

The data entered in Microsoft Office Excel sheet and analysed by SPSS version 21. Descriptive analysis was done by calculating proportions, mean and standard deviation. Difference between proportions were assessed using chi square test/Fishers exact test considering P value < 0.05 as significant.


  Results Top


A total of 300 workers that is 150 electronic repair workers and 150 scrap dealers participated in the present study. Most of the electronic repair workers (57%) and scrap dealers (48%) were of aged 20-39 yrs. It was found that 70% of electronic repair workers and 79% of scrap dealers had not heard about E-waste [Table 1]. It was revealed that media played an important role in generating awareness about E-waste as found with electronic repair workers (71%) and scrap dealers (81%). It was found that only 56% of electronic repair workers and 59% of scrap dealers were aware about the harmful effects of E-waste. Only 17% electronic repair workers and 13% of scrap dealers aware regarding government legislation on e-waste [Table 2].
Table 1: Sociodemographic profile of electronic repair workers(n=150) & scrap dealers(n=150)

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Table 2: Distribution of aware study subjects based on factors related with their awareness regarding E-waste

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Only 3.3% deposited their e-waste in established e-waste recycling centres. Only 24% of them were using personal protective measures. It was found that 64% scrap dealers disposed e-wastes with general wastes and 32% were involved in dissembling and smelting process. Only 21% study subjects were using personal protective measures [Table 3]. It was reflected from the findings of the present study that as education increases, awareness regarding E-waste also increases and it was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Among scrap dealers, it was found that as age increases, awareness about E-waste also increases (P < 0.05) [Table 4].
Table 3: Distribution of study subjects based on E-waste disposal practices(n=320)_

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Table 4: Distribution of study participants based on association of socio-demographic variables with awareness regarding E-waste

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  Discussion Top


There are several legislation and awareness campaigns for e-waste handling and management but despite this fact, there is still a gap in knowledge and awareness of the communities on these critical issues. Now a days, computers or mobile phones are changed every year by the consumers.[12],[13],[14],[15],[16] This leads to large amount of toxic materials enter the waste stream with no special precautions taken to avoid their known adverse effects on the environment and human health.[17]

It was found that 23% of scrap dealers were of age group ≤19 years and 17% electronic repair workers were of the same age group. Most of the study subjects from both groups were educated up to 6-10 years of schooling. Many other similar studies[18],[19],[20] have highlighted that workers in informal sector were not well educated as documented in present study also. It was sad to find that only 17% electronic repair workers and 13% of scrap dealers were having some knowledge regarding government legislation on e-waste. In a similar study conducted at Hyderabad found that about 72% of the handlers did not know the meaning of electronic waste and 71% were not aware of associated health risks.[11]

In the present study, less than one-fourth (24%) of total study population were using any type of personal protective equipment. As per International Labour Organization report[18] which highlights same finding. Another similar study conducted at Hyderabad also found that 85% did not use any protective gears.[11]


  Conclusion and Recommendation Top


Most of the mobile repair workers and scrap dealers were not having basic knowledge regarding e-waste and its proper handling and management, hazards due to e-waste generation. For this, adequate IEC (Information, education and communication) services focusing on health and environmental hazards due to E-waste, Government legislation, E waste recycling centres, use of personal protective measures, proper way of e-waste handling and management should be adopted widely to curb the burden of e waste.

Acknowledgement

We should like to acknowledge undergraduate students, junior residents and faculty members of department of Community Medicine of Safdarjung Hospital for their kind support throughout the study.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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Dahl R. Who pays for e-junk? Environ Health Perspect 2002;110:A196-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
CPCB. Guidelinesfor Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Central Pollution Control Board; 2008. Available from: http://www.cpcb.nic.in.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Monika, Kishore J. E-waste management: As a challenge to public health in India. Indian J Community Med 2010;35:382-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Puckett J, Byster L, Westervelt S, Gutierrez R, Davis S, Hussain A, et al. Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia. Seattle: Basal Action Network; 2002. Available from: http://www.ban.org.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Country level WEE assessment by IRGSSA 2005.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Baud I, Grafakos S, Hordjik M, Post J. Quality of life and alliances in solid waste management. Cities 2001;18:3-12.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Pandve HT. E-waste management in India: An emerging environmental and health issue. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2007;11:116.  Back to cited text no. 7
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Hicks C, Dietmar R, Eugster M. The recycling and disposal of electronic waste in China – legislative and market response. Environ Impact Assess Rev 2005;25:459-71.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Siliconindia News Bureau. Only for Rs. 5 E-waste workers risk lives (news) Siliconindia. Available from: http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Indias_ewaste_hazard _only_for_Rs5_workers_risk_lives_-nid-63623-cid-1.html.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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ASSOCHAM- KPMG Report-ASSOCHAM India. Available from: www.assocham.org/newsdetail.php?id=6838.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Mishra S, Shamanna BR, Kannan S. Exploring the awareness regarding E-waste and its health hazards among the informal handlers in Musheerabad area of Hyderabad. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2017;21:143-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
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Okoye A, Odoh C. Assessment of the level of awareness of E-waste management and concern for the environment amongst the populace in Onitsha, Southeastern Nigeria. J Environ Prot 2014;5:120-34.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Mundada MN, Kumar S, Shekdar AV. E-waste: A new challenge for waste management in India. Int J Environ Stud 2004;61:265-79.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Cairns CN. E-waste and the consumer: Improving options to reduce recycle and reuse. Proceedings of International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment, New Orleans, US.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Williams E, Kahhat R, Allenby B, Kavazanjian E, Kim J, Xu M. Environmental, social and economic implications of reuse and recycling of personal computers. Env Sci Tech 2008;42:6446-54.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Saroj G. E-waste management: Teaching how to reduce, reuse and recycle for sustainable development-need of some educational strategies. J Educ Prac 2004;2:74-86.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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Alake TJ, Ighalo GI. End of life strategies for effective electronic waste management in Nigeria. Int J Sci Techn Res 2012;1:73-6.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
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Lundgren MK. The global impact of E-waste: Addressing the challenge [Internet] 2012. Available from: http://www.ilo.org/sector/Resources/publications/WCMS_196105/lang--en/indexhtm. [Last accessed on 2017 May 3].  Back to cited text no. 18
    
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Akormedi M, Asampong E, Fobil JN. Working conditions and environmental exposures among electronic waste workers in Ghana. Int J Occup Environ Health 2013;19:278-86.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
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Herat S, Agamuthu P. E-waste: A problem or an opportunity? Review of issues, challenges and solutions in Asian countries. Waste Manage Res 2012;30:1113-29.  Back to cited text no. 20
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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