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Toxic's Trail preview: Eye-opening documentary on hazards of e-waste

Toxic's Trail explores the murky world of the unorganized electronic-waste management in New Delhi.

Keyur Seta

A well-known mobile phone company announces its new model with extraordinary features. On the launch date, people queue up outside stores and make orders on the internet. They are eager to grab something they can then flaunt in their social circles.

But what about their old phones? Well, they are either thrown away or sold to scrap dealers. What happens with these instruments and millions of other electronic gadgets that are dumped each year, as newer products keep appearing on the store shelves and e-commerce sites?

Ishani and Ashish Dutta’s documentary Toxic's Trail finds a disturbing answer to this seemingly unimportant question. Their film deserves applaud for being an eye-opener.

Toxic's Trail explores the murky world of the unorganized electronic-waste or e-waste management in New Delhi, bringing to light some alarming statistics:

- 1.7 tons of e-waste is generated in India annually

- Of this, 70% is generated by the commercial sector, both public and private

- E-waste from other countries are dumped in India, because those countries have stringent environmental laws

- Delhi houses India’s leading e-waste processing centre

- Children and adolescents work in the most inhuman conditions in recycling workshops. Without protective gear, they are exposed to dangerous toxins that damage their young bodies

- General public has no idea what happens to the gadgets they discard

- Reputed companies follow re-cycling rules in other countries, but not in India. Worse, nobody questions them

Why you should watch this film:

Despite sensational revelations, documentaries, especially those on serious subjects, often run the risk of becoming lethargic. However, Toxic's Trail steers clear of this danger. The makers have used proper storytelling techniques and structured their information smartly. The story of the recycling worker, Salman, adds to the realism, as well as, the drama.

Technical prowess is also largely responsible for the end result being so appealing. The film is smoothly edited and the effects used to present texts on the screen go brilliantly with the theme. The background score generates the desired sense of foreboding.

But Toxic's Trail doesn’t limit itself to portraying a grim situation. What makes it an impeccable documentary is that it also offers solutions.

Toxic's Trail will be showcased at the Woodpecker International Film Festival on 11 November, 03.15pm, Siri Fort Auditorium-III.

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Woodpecker International Film Festival