Tackling your e-waste problem

Jabir Karat and his team at Green Worms want to help people dispose their e-waste from the Kerala floods.

As Kerala is trying to revive itself in the aftermath of the floods, waste management has become a key challenge. Families have started going back to their homes from rehabilitation camps and many of them are finding it hard to decide what to do with the electronic appliances and devices that are not working. Normally, we dump these somewhere till scrap dealers come along to take them. But the pile of e-waste after the floods would be more than one can imagine. E-waste broadly covers waste from all electronic and electrical appliances and comprises items such as computers, mobile phones, digital music recorders/players, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions and many other household consumer items. Once it is damaged, after being submerged in water for almost a week, it becomes toxic to water, land and even humans.

In light of the floods and the subsequent e-waste problem, a Calicut-based waste management company has come up with a fix. “E-waste can have economic value when recycled. Unfortunately, the majority of e-waste is recycled in the unregulated informal sector and results in significant risk for toxic exposures to the recyclers, who are frequently women and children. At the moment, there are not enough facilities available to collect and process e-waste in Kerala. There are many scrap collectors but they don’t take all types of e-waste. But we are collecting all types of e-waste,” says Jabir Karat, CEO of Green Worms, a waste management company and environmental conservation organisation.

Jabir and his team will categorise the e-waste into household consumables, IT waste and collect it at specific collection centres in flood-hit parts.

In the past, Green Worms has made headlines for scientifically collecting waste and processing it. They collect and process about 50 tons of waste in a month.

Jabir, a postgraduate in history from Delhi University, considers this as an opportunity to help the people of Kerala by handling their e-waste free of cost. Those who have a certain amount of e-waste at their home or any other institution and nowhere to take it, can now contact Jabir for the same.

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