Abstract: Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) or E-Waste refers to obsolete, unwanted Electrical/Electronic devices that have reached end of life. As per United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, by the year 2020, E-Waste may rise by 500 % from old computers, no. of discarded refrigerators will get doubled or tripled while the rate of discarding mobile phones will be 18 times higher as compared to 2007 levels. Broadly E waste consists of plastics, glass, printed circuit boards, ceramics, rubber, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, elements like lead, mercury, cadmium, silver, gold, platinum etc. 95 % of this waste is headed towards urban slums of developing countries like India and China for disassembly by an informal sector. Using rudimentary techniques such as open burning of Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) wires, acid bath, use of chemicals such as Mercury and Cyanide, heating of lead solders, etc., results in severe environmental damage. As a result of improper treatment of E-Waste, hazardous reaction products such as dioxins or furans formed by incineration/inappropriate smelting of plastics with halogenated flame retardants are released in the environment. Disposal of e-waste to landfills and incinerators causes irreversible environmental damage by polluting water and soil and contaminating air. Lead concentrations in dust samples collected from some workshops in China were hundreds of times higher than typical levels of household dusts. The levels of dust collected from similar Indian workshops were 5-20 times more than background levels.
Keywords: Electronic waste, Management, Environmental Effects, Emissions, Awareness, Policy, Categorization