Do you know where your e-waste is going?
E-waste is electronic waste that makes up 5% of municipal solid waste worldwide. E-waste includes phones, computers, televisions, audio equipment, printers, DVD players, and any electronic device.Every year 25 million tons of e-waste is produced, and a large percent of it is dumped abroad.
In American society we have this notion that we need the newest gadget and we need it now! In each new generation there is an increasing need for instant gratification. Our society no longer purchases only their true needs, but over consumes without considering the environmental impact. American society is materialistic, and consumers only care about their own selfish needs.
Hazards of E-waste
There are harmful elements found in electronics like PVC, mercury, solvents, flame retardants, and lead. Lead can be very disastrous to many organs and tissues (heart, bones, intestines, kidneys), as well as cardiovascular, reproductive, and nervous systems. It can cause symptoms from headaches to seizures, coma, or death. Flame retardants can cause abnormal thyroid metabolism, and poor brain development. When burned, plastic and other materials in electronic products release toxic chemicals. Plastics release dioxins such as; PVC or hydrofluoric acid, which can damage the lungs of those exposed to it. Not only are people who are actively participating in this getting exposed, but also the surrounding communities ground water and air is contaminated. The contaminated water leads to contamination of crops, animals and anyone who drinks it.
Check out the video on the right side that is titled “Toxic U.S. E-waste: Third World Problem.”
The map above shows the known and suspected routes of e-waste dumping (sorry the picture is so small but it was the only one I could find that contained suspected routes). E-waste is shipped overseas to Asia, India, Africa and other developing countries. Because these people are so impoverished they work at ‘recycling facilities.’ At these facilities they do not wear any protection so their health and environment declines rapidly. These people earn about 1 meal a day while damaging their health. Many of these people are not aware of the risks involved with their work.
E-waste recycling programs that have been certified by e-stewards have to comply with certain standards. These include waste not being disposed of in solid waste landfills or incinerators, prohibits the exports and imports of electronics and specifically prohibits export of hazardous waste to developing countries. In order for this dangerous oversea shipping to stop, it is necessary for the public to be aware of this issue, and make sure that the e-waste recycling program will not ship overseas.
How are you disposing of your e-waste? Is your e-waste recycler certified?
“Shall we surrender to our surroundings or shall we make our peace with nature and begin to make reparations for the damage we have done to our air, to our land and to our water?”
Posted on October 7, 2011, in environment, Trash, Woldwide and tagged africa, air, american, animals, china, consumerist, consumers, contamination, crops, developing nations, e-waste, electronic, electronics, environment, environmental, environmental problems, flame retardants, harmful, health problems, india, land, lead, livestock, material, materialistic, mercury, poision, political science, PVC, recycle, scam, selfish, society, solvents, story of stuff, third world, trash, waste, water, worldwide. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.