Severe impacts of E-waste on our surroundings – Finds Toxics Link’s latest study!

November 12th, 2014 by Steve

New Delhi,28 July 2014,: Our neighborhoods are at great risk of being permanently damaged by toxins from e-waste, points out the latest Toxics Link study released today. The report “Impact of E-waste Recycling on Water and Soil” reveals toxic elements such as mercury, lead, zinc, etc., along with acids and chemicals released during e-waste recycling, are contaminating soil and water in the surrounding areas.

The report – based upon lab testing of soil and water samples from Loni and Mandoli areas of Delhi’s National Capital Territory – found both water and soil to be contaminated with heavy metals and other contaminants.

Shockingly drinking water contains exorbitant amount of toxic metals at both the locations. At Loni some samples of water reveal mercury level as high as 20 times the prescribed limit. While at Mandoli zinc level in a sample was 174 times higher. “Increased amount of toxic elements are clear indicator that water at both the places is not fit for drinking. Toxic metals such as Lead and Zinc slowly damage vital organs and also reduce the IQs and understanding capabilities of children,” says Dr. Prashant Rajankar, Program Coordinator, Toxics Link.

The findings also show lead level in soil at Loni to be very high; with one sample as high as 147 times the prescribed limit. The findings at Mandoli were equally shocking with lead level in one of the samples being 102 times higher than the prescribed limit. The study findings also establish release of heavy metals and other contaminants from recycling units and its presence in soil and water at both locations.

Loni and Mandoli are simply two examples from the vast number of such crude recycling units operating in Delhi and across India. Presently, around 2.7 million tonnes of E-waste is generated every year and reports suggest almost 90% of this waste being recycled in the informal sector in and around large cities.

To manage such toxics “E-waste (management and handling) rules-2011” is currently operational that puts onus of E-waste disposal onto the producers of such goods and instructs the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to monitor the implementation. “In spite of the rules, we find piles of E-wastes and a number of recycling units operating in Delhi and at other places. Rather simply closing them down, the government agencies need to come up with more effective measures,” says Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link.

The exhaustive report is among few in India that scientifically corroborates damage to soil and water through toxics from e-waste. Besides providing data on increased levels of zinc, lead, and other toxic elements and chemicals, the study also scientifically examines electrical conductivity, hardness and turbidity in the selected samples of Mandoli and Loni.

“There are only few scientific reports like this one. We hope it will trigger more such studies in other parts of the country and eventually the government will come up with better guidelines and push for stricter implementation of e-waste rules” Says RaviAgarwal, Director Toxics Link.

Facts & Figures at a Glance

Mandoli

Location: Mandoli lies under Krishna Vihar Phase III, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. This area which is on the border of Delhi andUttar Pradesh is home to a number of small and medium enterprises and is called ‘Gaddha colony’.

Number of recycling units: 80

Water Quality:

• The pH levels varied from 7.46 to 8.16 and were found within the desirable limit as per Indian standards (6.5 to 8.5).

• Electrical conductivity of the water samples varied from 637 to 4,580 µS/cm. Normally an electrical conductivity of 0–800 µS/cm in water is considered safe for drinking purposes

• The observed total hardness of water samples varied from 152 to 568 mg/l. The average total hardness level was observed to be 286.7 mg/l.

• The observed turbidity levels varied from 2.5 to 12.9 mg/l. The average turbidity level was 6.18 mg/l.

• The lead level observed in sample no. 1 (0.52 mg/l) was almost 11 times higher than desirable limit of Indian standards (0.05ppm).

• The mercury level observed in sample no. 3 (0.71 mg/l) was almost 710 times higher than desirable limit of Indian standards (0.001 ppm).

Soil Quality:

• The lead levels varied from 35.17 to 3,836 ppm. The highest lead level was almost 102 times higher than the control sample.

• The mercury levels varied from <1.0 to 8.71 ppm; 78 per cent samples were found to have high mercury levels.

• The zinc levels in all samples varied from 1,148.04 to 6,258.72 ppm; 100 per cent of the samples were found with very high zinc levels as compared with the control sample (1,119.45 ppm).

Loni

Location : Loni is an industrial area to the west of Ghaziabad city on the borders of Ghaziabad district, in the state of UttarPradesh and the city of Delhi.

Number of recycling units: 40

Water Quality:

• The pH levels varied from 6.9 to 7.6 and were found within the desirable limit as per Indian standards (6.5 to 8.5).

• Electrical conductivity of the water samples varied from 302 to 1,360 µS/cm. Normally an electrical conductivity of 0–800 µS/cm in water is considered as safe for drinking purposes

• The observed total hardness of the water samples varied from 184 to 325 mg/l.

• The observed turbidity level varied from <1.0 to 9.5 mg/l. All locations were within the desirable limit of Indian standards (10 NTU) for turbidity.

• The mercury level observed in sample no. 6 (0.02 mg/l) was almost 20 times higher than the desirable limit of Indian standards (0.001 ppm).

Soil Quality:

• The lead levels varied from 95.74 to 4778 ppm. The highest lead level was almost 147 times higher than the control sample.

• The cadmium levels varied from <0.1 to 5.4 ppm; 27 per cent of soil samples, that is, three samples (sample nos 5, 9 and 11) were found with high cadmium levels.

• The nickel levels varied from 13.38 to 57.62 ppm; around 82 per cent of the samples recorded high values as compared to the control sample (18.65 ppm).

• Mercury levels varied from 0.01 to 2.69 ppm. The highest mercury level was almost 7 times higher than the control sample.

• The zinc levels varied from 95.6 to 688.36 ppm. The highest zinc level was almost 6 times higher than the control sample.

About Toxics Link (www.toxicslink.org) Toxics Link is an environmental research and advocacy organization set up in 1996 by The Just Environment Charitable Trust. It lays a special emphasis on reaching out to numerous grassroots groups; community based organizations and the public at large through its empirical study-based information on environmental issues. Toxics Link works closely with all other stakeholders working on similar issues and has played a seminal role in facilitating the development of several common platforms for them on the national, regional as well as international levels. Toxics Link works in the area of Community and Waste, Toxics-free Health Care, Clean Industry, Chemicals & Health and Information & Communication. We work from New Delhi and have our nodal offices in Kolkata in West Bengal .

For Hindi Click Here  http://toxicslink.org/docs/Press-Release-Hindi.pdf

For interviews and further information, please contact:

Samir Prasad Head of Communication

(Cell # 9958564994)

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Filed under: Cadmium Testing, India Markets, Lead Testing, Mercury Testing, Nickel Testing, Soil Testing, Zinc Testing

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