Different pollutants including various metals can enter the soil from unprocessed e-waste and seep into the groundwater. Rahman et al. (2012) describe how a significant amount of pollutant heavy metals are transported through rainfall in addition to seepage to ponds in the rainy season. Yuan et al. (2011) describe the problems of old technology being used to treat soil contaminated due to e-waste; (Fujimori et al., (2012).; Fujimori and Takigami (2014) describe a similar situation due to the persistence of heavy metals from e-waste dumping.
In addition, Plants or vegetable crops growing in affected agricultural land face difficulties in terms of their growth & development due to e-waste pollution. Furthermore, such e-waste pollution can lead to potential negative effects on public health e.g. kidney damage, respiratory illness, gastroenteritis, liver disease, etc. (Grant et al., 2013; Noel-Brune et al., 2013). This is due to the existence of a high concentration of other pollutants and heavy metals (Figure. 2). Such environmental hazards can be avoided by adopting simple preventative measures such as efficient collection systems and suitable recycling e-waste services.
other hand microorganisms are present in the soil, as it is a well-known habitat for microbial diversity associated with plants, and such microbes and plants also take part in phytoremediation e.g. stabilization, degradation in the rhizosphere, and plant accumulation inside tissue and volatilization (Awasthi On et On al., 2016a). In particular, soil indigenous fungi have higher tolerances to pollution effects such as metal adsorption on cell wall surface [also known as bio-adsorption/biosorption], and bioaccumulation [transportation and cellular incorporation] (Gadd, 1986, 1993).
Several studies have scientifically defined the positive response of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to metals (Meier et al., 2015). Rajkumar et al. (2012) highlighted how microorganisms can produce numerous types of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that play a key role in toxic metal complexes, helping to slow down their mobility rate and penetration in the soil. Numerous research publications have evidenced that the best solution is an integrated approach combining the use of microorganisms with plants responsible for effective remediation of contaminated soil (Lopez et al., 2011; Zhang et al., 2010). One of the possible approaches used for e-waste is informal sector formalization by establishing cooperatives and associations; for example,
According to Awasthi et al. (2017), China has 109 registered formal recycling enterprises. The specific number of formal recyclers units per province. About 133 million units of e-waste/year are recycled by these formal recycling enterprises. The total e-waste volume dismantled about 70.45 million units in 2014, with a 35% of recycling rate (Zeng et al., 2017). The e-waste informal sector can play a significant role in e-waste management in developing countries. Some countries have already begun considering this addition to the formal e-waste management systems. Such transformation can be seen in the latest e-waste management frameworks from developing countries such as China, where the Industrial park is a perfect example, in particular, the Guiyu-based industrial park (Awasthi et al., 2019).
Policies and legal amendments can allow for the formalization of e-waste processing by dissolving the informal sector that is a key player. However, as a key stakeholder of e-waste management systems in developing countries, the informal sector can play a significant role in the successful formalization of such enterprises. According to this approach, informal e-waste working groups can be transformed into small size cooperatives or associations for carrying out the collection as well as recycling of e-waste (Awasthi et al., 2019). Comparable approaches have been reported from developing countries such as India, where the informal solid waste workers have been transformed into small cooperative initiatives under the municipalities (ILO, 2014). Academic institutions also have a role to play here, providing better technical and scientific assistance to these cooperatives (Awasthi et al., 2019). Such assistance can be in terms of pilot projects helping to support informal e-waste manual workers, developing awareness of e-waste practices, and eliminating potential exposure due to informal practices (Awasthi et al., 2016a).
Generally, community-based organizations or associations are formed when individual workers make themselves available for waste services in their societies. In this context, the local municipality plays a key role, providing rules & regulations, available infrastructure, equipment and awareness-raising events, etc. According to Schmied et al. (2011) the ‘‘TransWaste” project, described the formalization of the sector between informal Hungarian collectors, the private sector, and the Austrian public waste sector (waste management social enterprises or re-use enterprises in Austria or Hungary). These public and private formal sectors can hire informal waste laborers for carrying out waste collection or processing work at the recycling facilities. The main aim of such an approach is to improve their economic situation.