I remember my teacher mentioning that the under developed and developing countries are becoming the waste bins of so much of e-wastes from the developed nations. I was startled to know that. How fatal would be its after effects in our soil and water bodies? Where would we dump the e-wastes from our own nation? I was quiet relieved to know how the Technopark tackles with the large amount of e-wastes that they have to evacuate each day. Despite being the hottest abode to more than 280 companies and over 40,000 employees, Technopark undoubtedly makes its position right in maintaining its status as the ‘greenest Technopolis’ in the country .It is done through a successful e-waste management system.
Listen to what they tell
“The numbers are daunting, yes. But e-waste has been under control in the recent past, ever since 2008 when we introduced (through a tendering process) a government approved company to collect it. Before that I remember how we used to have to pay people to come collect e-waste,” says K. C. Chandrashekeran Nair, chief financial officer at Technopark. Azeeb A.K., assistant manager IT, who is in charge of e-waste management drives, explains: “In 2008, we actually collected 12,000 kg of e-waste! Since then we have put a system in place for e-waste management. E-waste levels have now come down to at the most, 800 kg a quarter. Nowadays for each kg of e-waste that a company gives up it gets Rs.44 (it used to be Rs.7 until recently; fresh tenders are called annually). Last quarter we collected 480 kg of e-waste. This does not include tube lights, bulbs and other similar electrical/glass waste.”
The Technoparkian way
Technopark has adopted quiet a common scene that we find in our domestic life. They have appointed people to collect the e-garbage from each company in the campus. Before the collectors come for the quarterly collection drives, the companies are informed through a notice. The e-waste collectors go door to door to collect the wastes. They will be accompanied by an administration official. Each lot of e-waste is weighed, payments are made accordingly.
Most of the companies in the campus, especially the smaller ones, have signed up for the drive. Says Anil Saraswathy, director, Fischer Systems India: “We are a small office of 36 people but we do generate e-waste. There is a box that we have kept inside the office into which we dump used CDs, monitors, hard drives and so on. When it gets filled, which happens every six months or so, we put in a request with Technopark administration or the e-waste company and it’s picked up reasonably promptly. It saves us the hassle of having to dispose it ourselves.”
When contacted, none of the bigger companies were very forthcoming about what they do with e-waste. But we were informed that most of them subscribe to green technology initiatives. “Most of these companies have standards of operation which require systems to be upgraded often. I’ve heard that many of them usually give away used monitors, CPUs, printers and the like to various charitable organisations as an extension of their corporate social responsibility activities (CSR),” says Chandrashekaran Nair. Some of the smaller companies also do the same as part of CSR .They sometimes give used systems to their employees free of cost.
According to Azeeb, awareness is the key to e-waste management. Technopark regularly arranges awareness campaigns for the same. “In fact, our e-waste management drive has earned much praise that I have got queries from KINFRA and some IT firms in Kochi who want to adopt our system.”He says.