International Seminar E-WASTE MANAGEMENT : A PROBLEM OR AN OPPORTUNITY?
Due to rapid growth in usage of electrical and electronic equipments in modern life style, e-waste management is being considered as a fast growing global issue. Cheap labor and lenient rules/regulations are the main factors causing increased flooding of e-waste in Asian countries and Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries among this list. This dumping of electronic waste has become a critical environmental as well as human health issue in Pakistan. More recently, e-waste recycling is emerging as a cottage industry. One of the challenges in this industry is that people involved with recycling are not trained nor prepared to handle the recycling process, hence causing additional damage to the environment.
In a recent study by IESE, NUST, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi were identified as major hubs of e-waste in Pakistan. In addition to these cities, breaking/dismantling activity is also being carried out in Kamonke and Gujranwala cities near Lahore. The survey results showed that the recycling system includes people using open plots and big houses in congested areas/communities to break down, segregate and by burning/heating of various components of computers, printers, screens and power supply units etc. Keeping in view the dire nature of this issue, NUST Pakistan, in partnership with Griffith University Australia, is embarking upon an international research project on E-Waste management in Pakistan. To break ground for this initiative, NUST organized a one-day seminar in collaboration with Griffith University on Wednesday 23rd April 2014 at 11:30 to 1300 Hrs at SEECS seminar Hall.
The seminar started with a talk on E-waste: “a problem or an opportunity” by Prof. Dr. Anwar Baig, IESE. Later, various related topics were discussed including: review of issues, challenges and solutions for e-waste in Pakistan by Mr. Sajid, Mr. Mustafa, Mr. Tanvir and Prof. Dr. Arshad Ali. Mr. Peter Woods, Ms. Arfa Noor, and Dr. Sunil Heart of Griffith Business School also shared their valuable experience. The talk was attended by students and faculty from Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, NICE, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and representatives of PITB, UNIDO, UNDP, Capital Development Authority, Ministry of Climate Change and NGOs. At the end, certificates were distributed among the participants.
At the end of talk, both organizations agreed on the way forward to start such activity in NUST. As a next step, Griffith University invited one faculty member and MS student from NUST IESE, engaged in the E-waste, for a visit to Australia to learn more about the E- waste program.