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Capricious Pollution Control Board & E-waste Hogwash

By Bhushan Parimoo

One of the J&K SPCB Publications with regard to the Status of E-Waste Management in the State made public by the Board bearing No.: SPCB/CSS/06/2011 proved a blessing in disguise. To the perturbing emerging abnormal Health scenario brought in to cause from the avoidable hazards situation around us these days. This Booklet in a concise and simple manner provided answer for which this writer has been looking for some time now. Why the Babe born these days with normal health has become a rarity and the growth is not smooth as used to be. Livings in comparison from the very birth are diseases prone unheard in earlier days. Abnormal rise in non infectious diseases are being confronted , 98% children in India ‘exposed’ to toxic air, not a glass of water is safe, Breast , Cervical, Colon Lung Skin cancer are risking a supersonic speed. Publication is based on the survey with regard to the assessment of E-waste generation and management in important towns and cities of J&K . This writer had been witnessing for about four decades from close quarters birth and growth of the children in the state and other health aspects. Right from remote inaccessible mountains, Backward as well in urban areas. Covering every cross section of the society, Tribals, Pharis, impervious strata of the society and others.

 

Better half, now no more, was in Medical profession for about 35 years. Prenatal, post-natal, and conducting deliveries, even on road side in emergency, had been one of the parts of her duties. Rare of the rare new born was found carry any dieses, to be taken perturbing. In spite ruralise with meagre resources, had just normal way of life, normal deliveries and normal health. At present it is hardly encountered when the doctor after conducting deliver share baby is normal. Death at delivery, Infant Mortality rate has come down, but disease ridden new born and thereafter the grown one of the major cause of concern. Doctrine of Precaution is better than cure does not hold good now in the Polluted atmosphere. Major cause has been attributed to the Polluted Environment be it be Water, Air, adulterated Food. Resulting in Communicable and non-Communicable disease, acquired genetic problems. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPC B) Government of India has classified about 1000 different substances falling under the Electronic waste. The Survey on the Status of E-Waste Management in J&K has been conducted on the directions of the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi, with cent per cent assistance of funds. The scenario that emerged after the survey should have been the basis to draw to a strategy, both short term and long term to take care of E-waste hazards. Electronic waste is being produced in staggering quantities in the state. Which comes a waste from all sorts of electronic items ranging from computers and mobile phones, to household electronics like food processors, pressure, cookers, Micro Ovens ,Washing Machines, Radios ,Coolers, Bulbs, Tubes ,DVD,Cassettes, Compact discs,LCD/plasma television, Cable wires, Medical devices. E-waste-connected health risks may result from direct contact with harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, chromium, brominated flame retardants or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).With inhalation of toxic fumes, as well as from accumulation of chemicals in soil, water and food. In addition to its hazardous components, being processed, e-waste can give rise to a number of toxic by-products likely to affect human health. Furthermore, recycling activities such as dismantling of electrical equipment may potentially bear an increased risk of injury.

Scientists found high levels of a previously unsuspected pollutant in homes, in an electronic waste recycling facility and in the natural environment. Discovered high levels of the chemical, tri (2,4-di-t-butylphenyl) phosphate, or TDTBPP, in homes, an electronic waste recycling facility and in the natural environment. The improper disposal on the environment has caused adverse impact human beings as well as other livings which include nervous system, blood system, kidney and brain development, respiratory skin disorders, bronchitis disorder, lung cancer, heart, liver, and spleen disorders birth defects and reproductive systems of the human body. Harmful chemical exposures among vulnerable populations, including women and children. Children are especially vulnerable to the health risks that may result from e-waste exposure and, therefore, need more specific protection. As they are still growing, children’s intake of air, water and food in proportion to their weight is significantly increased compared to adults, – and with that, the risk of hazardous chemical absorption. Furthermore, their bodies’ functional systems such as the central nervous, immune, reproductive and digestive system are still developing and exposure to toxic substances, by hampering further development, may cause irreversible damage. Many children are exposed to e-waste-derived chemicals in their daily life due to unsafe recycling activities that are often conducted at their home- either by family members or by the children themselves. Furthermore, children may be exposed through dump sites located close to their homes, schools and play areas. E-waste hazards have not yet received the attention they deserve in research and public health agendas. The uncaring irresponsible J&K State Pollution Control Board was established in 1987 in pursuance of Water (prevention and control of pollution) after rectification and promulgation of said Act by the State Legislature. It has been so far adopting criminal negligence to its mandatory duties detrimental to the biodiversity as guaranteed under Constitution. Abetment with the polluter should pay be applied to the Board. Despite recommendations by the Balliapa and Bhatacchary Committees, Sub groups and Supreme Court monitoring Committee led by Justice Thyragan recommendations that the State Pollution Control Board are to be headed by a technocrats and not by IFS officers as has been the practice in the Stat since1999. Parliamentary Rajya Sabha Committee on Science and Technology, Environment & Forests on Functioning of Centre Pollution Control Board which presented its report to H’onble Chairman, Rajya Sabha on 22 September 2008, same was presented in the Rajya Sabha on 21 October 2008 and thereafter laid on the on the table of Lok Shaba same date, at Para 2.6 it reads as “The committee has been informed that the key posts in CPCB and SPCBs are being manned by officers of Indian Administrative Services OR Bureaucrats who neither possess the necessary capabilities and expertise in proper managing and planning control activities nor have enough time to pay attention to these activities for oblivious reasons. This trend has led to virtual relegation and replacement of technical capable persons to the place of exile from the key posts. The committee has been informed that this point has been highlighted by Prof.Menon Committee set up by the Supreme Court with regard to management of Hazardous waste. According to the report of the Supreme Court Monitoring committee on Hazardous waste. 77 percent of Chairpersons and 55 percent of Member Secretaries in different states are not qualified enough to hold post. The committee observed that this is a very disturbing trend and that practice needs to be stopped forthwith.”State Government did not take cognisance of these reports and carry its functions ignoring the laid down norms. The Publication referred above gives to understand that the SPCB has been seized with the problem despite that did no tangle efforts to contain the contamination from E waste. Except for Pamphlets for furtherance of person images nothing went beyond its premises. No two opinions about it at the same time can be contained and minimised to the minimum in case efforts are taken as said war like efforts at every level by everyone in the State. Subject to intent on the part of the enforcing agencies designated to deal with it under law .With multipronged thrust, awareness, involving the people in the movement , fan out in far wide and deep to check the menace of pollution at base with stringent action and remedy. it is the State Pollution Control Board, who has a mandatory powers to ensure clean Environ, with it. State Board has proved so far a stalking horse for the violators. It stinks as area wise very badly in fact it is the fountain of Pollution. Mismanagement rather managing anything worth to prove its credentials.

The record of the SPC Board is most dubious in action, responsibly for causing diseases avoidable water borne diseases, Reparatory Track Infections, infertility, frequent abortions cancerous etc. are being attributed to the Polluted atmosphere. to cover up its lapses Board just cry Polythene free State, in it also it has taken no action on illegal Polythene banned stuff in the state., this writer as an environmentalist for about 40 years, always on move with hectic activities interact with every wing of the Forest, Environment and Ecology, never brief about this hazards or any other social activists. During the last few years, various international calls for action have highlighted the need of strategic interventions in the field of e-waste. These include the Libreville Declaration emanating from the first Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa 2008, the Busan Pledge for Action on Children’s Environmental Health of 2009 and the Strategic Approach to Integrated Chemical Management’s expanded Global Plan of Action issued at the International Conference on Chemical Management ICCM3 in 2012. Currently, there are a number of international initiatives that are addressing global e-waste management and trade concerns, as well as issues with environmental pollution due to e-waste.Together with its collaborating partners, WHO is working at identifying the main sources and potential health risks of e-waste exposures and defining successful interventions? Initial support is being provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the United States’ National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. WHO has recently launched the E-Waste and Child Health Initiative aiming at protecting children and their families from detrimental health consequences due to e-waste. Lancet Global Heath published a few years back, The population exposed to potentially hazardous substances through inappropriate and unsafe management practices related to disposal and recycling of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment, collectively known as e-waste, is increasing. Significant negative correlations between blood chromium concentrations and forced vital capacity in children aged 11 and 13 years were also reported. Findings from most studies showed increases in spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and premature births, and reduced birth weights and birth lengths associated with exposure to e-waste. People living in e-waste recycling towns or working in e-waste recycling had evidence of greater DNA damage than did those living in control towns. Studies of the effects of exposure to e-waste on thyroid function were not consistent. And Capricious Pollution Control Board is a mute perpetuating an unpardonable criminal negligence warrants trail