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Photo Credit: Sayantan Bera/CSE


1. Circuit boards are dipped in acid and burnt to segregate plastic from precious metals in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Hydrochloric and sulphuric acid is commonly used. The fumes contain chlorine and sulpher di-oxide which cause respiratory problems. The acids are corrosive to the eyes and skin.

2. The unorganized circuit board processing units in Moradabad, UP, employs children between the ages of eight to fifteen. Traders estimate that about half of all circuit boards used in electrical appliances end up in Moradabad, once famed as the petal nagri or the brass city.

3. 15-year-old Shanu extracts copper from dismantled UPS fans in Shastri Park, Delhi. The copper sells for Rs 330 per kg fetching his employer handsome returns on a good day when as much as 10 kilograms can be extracted. Shanu, however never earns beyond Rs 200 a day.

4. 10-year-old Asif washes motherboards ripped of gold and silver in the banks of Ramganga river in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. He will sell it as plastic scrap for Rs. 2 per kg.

5. Labourers working in Seelampur, Delhi, dismantle computer scrap to segregate metals, circuit boards and plastic. The segregated parts are then sent to different places either to be reused or recycled.

6. Seelampur in the north eastern fringe of Delhi receives electronic waste from across north India. More than 400,000 tonnes of e-waste is generated in India every year of which 90 percent ends up in the unorganized market.