The Harmful Effects of E-Waste on the Earth

The harmful effects of e-waste or electronic waste cannot be understated. Every year, an increasing amount of electronic items are being discarded in landfills, which plays a significant role in the growing pollution. The current scenario has become a trend in different parts of the world, and the figures are quite alarming! Around 40 million metric tons of e-waste is produced every year around the world. 13% of that waste is properly recycled in the developing countries. Around 9 million tons of the waste, which comprises of discarded computers, TVs, mobile phones and other electronics, comes from households, offices and so on.

 

e-waste-recycling

 

E-waste and its impact:

 

Keeping the present situation in mind, various environmental organizations and the government has taken steps to manage and eliminate waste as much as possible. However, on an individual level, we are all responsible for playing our part to help the environment. Many people are not aware of the fact that electronic items such as cell phones and computers actually contain toxic matters that can leach out into the soil and cause damage to the environment. The problem intensifies due to the fact that the elements that are used in the production of these electronics are usually quite expensive. Because of this reason, leading companies often try to recover these elements from the discarded electronics, using ways that unsafe.

Measures taken by the world:

 

Several nations have passed laws regarding the proper disposal of e-waste. In most cases, discarded electronics are barred from being disposed in landfills. According to the law, electronic waste matters can only be discarded in a landfill that is equipped to handle toxic matters. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury that are found in e-waste pose a great threat to the environment and human health. Most consumers believe that only items like cathode ray tubes require proper disposal. What they don’t know is that cell phones contain a heavy toxic metal beryllium, which can cause serious damage to the lung. In addition to the toxins they contain, electronic waste also takes years to biodegrade, and that could mean that landfills with electronic waste could stay like that for centuries!

 

Proper disposal of e-waste for a pollution free world:

 

That is why proper disposal of e-waste has become a priority. In the first world countries, many companies have started taking proper measures to significantly reduce the amount of e-waste that they create. Manufacturers of electronic items have started taking products back when they have outlasted their usefulness. This way they safely remove elements like copper and other harmful metals from the electronics, and then dispose of the rest of the item in a safe manner. Such measures need to be taken effectively in other parts of the world where electronic waste is a major problem.

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