Fifty pounds of gold and 20,000 pounds of copper could be extracted from one million discarded cell phones, if processed properly, Pranabesh Ray, Dean (Academics), XLRI - Xavier School of Management told a two-day national conference on e-waste management here.
Emphasising the need for proper management of e-waste, Ray said, globally, about 64.5 million tonnes of e-waste are generated annually of which, only around 40 per cent is processed properly.
India ranked third in the world in e-waste generation per annum, he said, adding that the country generated 1.7 million tonnes of e-waste in 2014. The volume of e-waste is increasing everyday, thus becoming a major environmental concern even as the common man is unaware of his contribution to it, said Ray.
If unchecked, by 2017, the global volume of discarded e-waste will weigh almost equivalent to 200 Empire State buildings, he added. While 70 per cent of discarded electronic gadgets ends up in landfills, thus contaminating the environment with hazardous materials, only 30 per cent of it is recycled, said the academician.
The volume of e-waste is growing due to 'human greed', said Ray, adding that users prefer to change cell phones even when they are working.
The problem is also amplified by 'illegal' dumping of dysfunctional products by developed countries who do so under the pretext that the products are for re-use, he said.
The conference was organised by Centre for Global Management and Responsible Leadership (CGMRL) at XLRI - Xavier School of Management, University of Queensland, Australia and IIT, Kharagpur.