Electronic waste, shortly called e waste, describes discarded electrical or electronic devices and components. Used and old electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered as e-waste. Informal processing of the e-waste can lead to adversity of human health effects and environmental pollution.
Electronic scrap components, such as CPUs and other processors, contain potentially harmful components such as lead, beryllium,cadmium and brominated flame retardants. Recycling and disposal of e-waste may involve significant risk to workers and communities around the disposal region and great care is required to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leaking of materials such as heavy metals from landfills and incineration ashes.
Lets a mobile of cost Rs.10k is bought and after 1 year by accident it’s screen gets shattered.
If it is taken to repair, a new display would cost as much as a brand new smartphone and in such a scenario it is predictable what almost every one would prefer.
And just like, a ton of e waste is created, all those resources used to manufacture that one unit of a simple cheap device, from its camera to its battery and processor etc etc. that one smartphone with the computational power inaccessible even to the richest of the richest a decade prior to today becomes useless from the hand of simple common person on streets and generated significant e waste.
Not recycling e-waste leads to
- loss of valuable resource like Precious metals, copper, lithium, etc
- Damage to our environment if not managed properly from elements like lead, mercury, and various types of flame retardants. Of particular concern are the cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in computer monitors, which contain high concentrations of lead
- Also Opportunity costs – recycling creates jobs, reusing electronics generates revenue for businesses, and land-fillings comparatively more expensive than the former two options.
- Potential reusability is lost like a decade old computer can be thrown away in a developed country whereas computers are completely inaccessible in some poor countries.
Tackling the Problem of e waste
Nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the upcoming five to seven years, according to the EPA in us alone. In most places it’s up to individuals to decide the fate of their e wastes as there lack of proper waste management is extremely common,
The solutions are…
Give an operable computer to a local family, friend, school, or nonprofit organization.
There are websites which offer links to recycling centers involving businesses. These Services allow consumers as well as businesses to recycle any computer for a small fee, including shipping.
Most importantly, care
Acknowledge the issue, while many overestimate the problem and make it look like the world is on the brink of end whereas at times these topics are used as political weapons and a means to get popular, it has become a part of celebrity culture to make fancy statements who then are seen doing ad campaign for upcoming useless upgrade of a smartphone.
One must avoid these paranoia. We just have to make sure that it doesn’t bite us in only because of a bit of carelessness. A bit of care and attention from our side can definitely minimize the e waste problems.