Discarded computers, mobile phones and other gadgets, which in short are referred to as e-waste may wreak havoc in the lives of human beings and the environment unless immediate steps are taken to collect and recycle this waste.
According to a UN report e-waste from old computers would probably leap by 500 percent by 2020.
The waste from old television sets and discarded refrigerators might as well rise during the period, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stated in the report. The waste from mobile phones would climb by 18 times by 2020.
Most e-waste in the country is appallingly managed; much of it is burned to ashes by backyard recyclers to recover valuable metals like gold. However, this type of recycling releases steady plumes of toxic-pollution and have low metal recovery rates in comparison to well-designed industrial recycling facilities.
At present, India generates over 100,000 tons of waste from refrigerators, 2,75,000 tons from TVs, 56,300 tons from personal computers, 4,700 tons from printers and 1,700 tons from mobile phones. Yes, tons and tons of e-waste are getting generated all through the year. Nonetheless, the data excludes waste imports, both legal and illegal which are considerable in volume.
India, Brazil, Mexico are all facing the threat of environmental damage and health problems, informed the under-secretary general Achim Steiner. Sales of electronicproducts in countries like China and India will be skyrocketing in the coming years. Unless appropriate action is taken to collect and recycle materials, these countries are sure to face worst crises in the upcoming years. The e-waste generally comprise of old and ram shackled desktop and laptops, printers, mobile phones, pagers, digital photo, music devices, toys, television etc.
Manufacturing of mobile phones and personal computer use 3 percent of the gold and silver mined worldwide each year, 13 percent palladium, and 15 percent cobalt. It is said that modern electronics constitute 60 different elements, some precious, many hazardous and some consisting of both. World over, more than 1 billion mobile phones were sold in 2007, up from 896 million in 2006.
The global e-waste generation is growing in leaps and bound, nearly by 40 million tons every year.
Proper recycling of e-waste help cut health problems, boost employment opportunities, reduce green house gas emissions and find wide range of precious metals like silver, gold, palladium, copper and indium etc.
Global e- waste is increasing by 40mn tons a year
E-waste comprises lead, mercury, cadmium and polybrominated flame retardants. These are considered to be bio-accumulative toxins and lead to eco and health risks, when computers are recycled.
Burning of e-wastes releases mercury vapour, while burning of PVC plastics release highly toxic dioxins and Furans.
The gases, acid solutions, toxic smoke and ashes endanger the health of workers involved in backyard recycling.
PBTs can go into food chain when released in ecosystem.
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