Khulna: Every day, hundreds of kilograms of electronic waste or e-waste are collected in Khulna city but the city corporation does not have the capacity to manage this waste. As a result, health risks are in-creasing.
Abandoned TVs, refrigerators, computers, laptops, cameras, air conditioners, microwaves, CFL lights, washing machines, mobile phones, DVD players, electronic toys, among others, are the main sources of e-waste, city officials said.
When these items are discarded, they turn into “e-waste”. Even if the materials are destroyed, they do not decompose; they cause damage to the environment.
According to Khulna City Corporation (KCC), about 1,000 tons of waste is produced in the city every day. Of this, KCC waste management department workers collect 800 tons and dump those at Rajbandh and Shalua dumping grounds. The remaining 200 tons of waste make their way into drains or canals.
KCC Chief Waste Management Officer Engr Md Abdul Aziz said the city produces close to one ton of e-waste every day. Like household waste, these too go into the dumping grounds. A large number of electrical equipment, including TV and computer parts, coming from the drain gather at the Rupsha Switch Gate area. Those are also collected and dumped at Rajbandh.
Md Kabir has been involved in the scrap material business for about 15 years. He said earlier there were more TVs, electricity meters, batteries, water motors. In the last seven-eight years, the sale of different types of mobile phones and small motors has increased.
“The products are removed, cleaned, and put up for sale. No one ever talked about using protective gear,” he said.
Dulal buys products from houses in different areas of the city and sells them in Sheikhpara. He said many buy broken items and repair them. The rest is sold as scrap.
“I burn wire and take out the copper, and throw out the rest. I’ve developed rashes in my hands while doing this work,” he said.
Professor Dr Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, head of the Department of Environmental Sciences of Khulna University, said e-waste contains various types of toxic compounds including lead, cadmium, mercury. These are harmful to the environment and animals.
In addition, mercury enters the environment and human body through various processes. It can damage the brain, reduce hearing and immunity. Lead from e-waste causes serious damage to the nervous system of newborns, he added.
KCC Chief Waste Management Officer Md Abdul Aziz said a master plan on waste management at the city corporation is underway.
Besides, a modern waste treatment plant has been constructed in Shalua. All types of waste will be seg-regated and distributed there. Once the project is completed, e-waste will come under the purview of the project, he said.