Recent advancements in technology have made it easy to manufacture cheap devices that have tremendously benefited our society. However, the explosive growth of the electronics industry has also escalated the issue of e-waste. According to one report published by the World Economic Forum, e-waste in landfills releases toxic materials into the environment and is one of the fastest-growing waste contributors on the planet.
As industry specialists and lawmakers rush to find a solution, there are several ways we—as individuals—can play our part in protecting both the planet and the life on it. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance and a few ways of recycling e-waste.
What is E-Waste?
E-waste, also referred to as e-scrap, and EOL electronic devices include dated mobile phones, computer equipment, televisions, and stereos all of which can be recycled or refurbished yet are still found in landfills. Despite having the tools to reduce their harmful impact, the majority of e-waste is either dumped or incinerated.
E-Waste in Pakistan
Cities have no appropriate system of dumping its E-waste while the people are unconscious of the health risk they pose finding a beautiful toy for their kids from a roadside shop of broken electronic devices is a decent Sunday fun time for some parents in various territories of the nation nowadays.
These guardians don’t realize they are really buying poison for their kids in the shape of broken/utilized/obsolete electronic toys or gadgets as these things contained exceptionally harmful overwhelming metals like lead, arsenic, barium, cadmium, mercury and so on which may cause genuine medical problems.
An ongoing report of the Basel Action Network (BAN) which attempts to battle the fare of harmful material cases that 50 to 80 percent of e-waste generated in the West including the US is traded to many developing nations including Pakistan, India, China, Taiwan and various African nations.
It is an open secret that developed countries ‘dump’ their e-waste to developing countries because formal recycling of this waste is very expensive whereas in developing countries cheap labour and informal recycling methods are easily available.
The provincial metropolis is fast becoming a dumping ground for electronic waste of many western countries and one can find shops selling broken/used electronics everywhere.
Environment experts guarantee the electronic devices have hidden dangers once they become e-waste. They state that poisonous components in electronic devices represent a real danger if these devices are not disposed of appropriately.
They additionally uncover that substantial metals, for example, lead, barium and cadmium can be extremely unsafe for health if they enter the water system. These materials can cause damage to the human nervous and respiratory systems.
The landfill site in Lahore is the only scientific landfill site in the country and that also doesn’t have any solution to e-waste. “We receive mix waste at the landfill and we dump it as it is,” says Jamil Khawar, spokesperson Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC). He confirms the scientific landfill site didn’t have any special section to deal with this kind of waste.
As indicated by the Basel Action Network, in excess of 500,000 utilized PCs are as yet sent to Pakistan every year from developed countries including Singapore, USA, and a couple of European countries, regardless of the fact that it is in clear violation of international laws. Just an expected 15 to 40 percent of the PCs are in usable condition, while the rest are reused in incredibly risky conditions.
Environmentalists says that once these harmful materials are dumped at a landfill site, they begin leaking out into nature, contaminating area, water and air.
Outside the city, there is no law or regulation to stop the import of e-waste into the province as there is no law or SOP for recycling of this waste.
Solution: Recycling E-Waste
The following is why you should always recycle your e-waste:
• Toxic Materials: old electronic devices are known to contain toxic substances like cadmium, chromium, and mercury. The proper processing is required to ensure that such substances don’t leak out into the environment. There’s also the risk of potentially flammable chemicals and other heavy metals.
• Waste Management: a small product life cycle coupled with an increasing number of gadgets has led to a sharp rise in solid waste materials.
• Hazardous Waste: since e-waste is offshored to developing countries where the labor is cheap, residents are exposed to deadly toxins that pose serious health risks.
• Raw Materials: only 10-15% of gold found in e-waste is recovered successfully which is ironic considering how the precious metal deposits found in the waste are considered to be around 40-50 times richer than ones found in natural ores.
There’s another way to safely let go of your electronics without harming the environment and that’s by selling them online. For example, many people purchase the latest iPhone while the current model is still in decent condition. They dispose of the older model which helps them gain quick money to upgrade to a newer model without spending too much out of the pocket.