Nisha Thakker

Class Year


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Spring 2006


From New Delhi in the north, to Calcutta in the south, a repetitive striking image is found in India’s metropolises. One reporter writes of a “hostile zone” in Calcutta where “high brick walls block the views of activities going on with- in.” What hides behind those walls, however, tells a chilling tale of what happens to the discarded electronics of developed countries. These electronic waste (“e-waste”) scrap yards have become common in India. Within these landfills children “as young as eight-years-old tear apart electronic components with bare hands, while vats of acid lying just a few feet away bubble like giant black cauldrons, spewing out strange-smelling fumes.” Another report tells of a teenager cutting into a car battery with a torch – wearing no mask or protective clothing. Workers in these scrap yards expose themselves to hazardous materials seven days a week, for twelve to fourteen hours a day.