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Why you should not throw away e-gadgets

Participants at the seminar in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Manoj Kumar

Patna: Electronic waste is a major cause of cancer in Bihar, Dr Ashok Ghosh, chairperson of the Bihar State Pollution Control Board, said at an event on Thursday to flag off women-driven e-rickshaws.

"As there is a complete lack of proper e-waste management policy, its collection and disposal remain totally unorganised. Electronic waste has catastrophic impacts on our health and environment," Ghosh said.

E-waste management company Karo Sambhav had organised the event in partnership with Patna-based NGO Nidan.

Dumping useless electronic gadgets in the open is widespread in Bihar, which causes land pollution, Ghosh said.

"Rainfall makes it mix with groundwater, leading to water pollution. When we drink such contaminated water, toxic substances reach our stomach and cause cancer. The number of people using electronic gadgets has increased and the replacement culture, buying new ones instead of repairing, generates large volumes of e-waste," said Ghosh.

Karo Sambhav founder Pranshu Singhal said: "We have formed a self-help group of women waste collectors and trained them to drive e-rickshaws and collect electronic waste. Then our company will dispose it by using environmentally sound practices."

Ghosh also said that the level of arsenic in drinking water in Bihar is high due to contamination led by electronic waste. "Therefore, the number of people with cancer due to toxic substances in water and food is increasing."

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