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Mobile Charger to save the planet

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 3 minutes read

In India, more than one billion people use mobile phones. Of these, 70% are those who use smartphones, e-readers, tablets, or other electronic devices. Companies sell a specific charger for every smartphone, which is mandatory for everyone to buy. It often happens that a person carries several chargers to charge different devices. It also happens that the phone charger of one company is not compatible with other mobile phones or models. Often it is written in the instruction manuals that you should use only the charger that came with your mobile, to get proper charging. The downside is that you have to carry multiple chargers, which is cumbersome and expensive.
To strengthen the Digital India program and increase connectivity, the Government of India is working on an innovative plan, under which a single charger will be enough to charge multiple electronic gadgets across the country. You can also call it a ‘One Nation One Charger’ plan, which is actually the Universal Charging Device (UCD) scheme. The government is taking it seriously because it will bring down the consumption of raw materials and will also help in reducing e-waste. The UCD will be capable of charging a number of gadgets like smartphones, mobile phones, e-readers, and tablets that consume the same amount of power. At present, the idea is to make two separate UCDs for both feature phones and smartphones. Last year 162 million smartphones were sold in India, which is 11% more than in 2020. It is estimated that 200 million smartphones will be sold in the current financial year. Charging multiple devices with a single charger will be in the interest of the environment, because of less raw material and less e-waste generation.
Work from home (WFH) culture became popular during the lockdown, due to which companies bought 84% of additional electronic devices, including laptops and computers, for their employees. Of these, 23% of the devices will no longer be needed in the future. According to the Global E-Waste Monitor report of the United Nations, on average, each person in the world generated 7.6 kg of e-waste in 2021. In this way, 57.4 million tonnes of e-waste were generated all over the world. In 2019, 5.36 crore metric tonnes of e-waste were generated. It was so much that if 350 ships were to be parked in a 125 km long line, they would all be filled with e-waste.
In India, about 250 million mobiles are becoming e-waste every year. The chemicals released from them cause diseases like cancer and DNA damage. Useless mobiles, computers, and chargers are adding to the e-waste on the earth. This is equivalent to throwing away 1000 laptops every second. India is generating 2.4 kg of e-waste per capita. In this case, our country is third in the world after the US and China. The situation is that e-waste is generated more than plastic waste. Most e-waste is generated from computers (70%). Mobile phones generate 12%, medical devices 8%, and electric devices generate 7% of e-waste. India does not have an adequate system for recycling e-waste. Only 20% of the total e-waste generated in the country is recycled. E-waste is extremely dangerous from the environmental point of view because the chemicals released from it contribute to climate change. Metals like copper, aluminum, and lead get dissolved in the air when e-waste is burnt.
(The writer is a senior journalist and columnist)

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