We live in the digital age, meaning that we use large amounts of electronic products. Common examples of our modern-day electronics are personal computers, mobile phones, ovens, lamps, and televisions. However, just like every other product, these electronics get age-worn and useless. We usually end up throwing these products away.
“E-waste” is the term for electronic products that you and I throw away. The average American disposes of 19.4 kg of electronic waste yearly. In total, the world disposes of electronic waste amounting to 50 million tons every year. More importantly, the yearly amount of e-waste increases due to the large-scale production of new technologies.
The major problem of e-waste, aside from their overwhelming size, is that they are potentially harmful to man’s environment. They include materials that may have damaging effects on humans and the environment if not managed properly during production.
A typical example of harmful elements common to most electronic products is lead. Many other electronics may contain toxic materials like mercury and cadmium.
How Does Electronic Waste Affect You?
E-waste contains toxic materials, which can, in turn, negatively affect humans and the environment. Here are some of the harmful effects of e-waste.
The toxic materials that e-wastes contain tend to dissolve into tiny particles. These particles find their way into the soil, nearby water bodies, or groundwater. This process leads to the poisoning of water and the reduction of nutrients in the ground.
E-waste poses significant health risks. For example, exposure to products containing lead usually causes organ failure, weakness, and death.
The leaching of e-waste may cause water and soil pollution. Besides, when you incinerate electronic wastes, the wastes release harmful gases into the atmosphere, dangerous to health and climate.
Many of these e-wastes are computerized devices that may contain your confidential information. Data thieves may access your waste and the information it holds, thereby putting you at risk.
What Are We Doing About Electronic Waste?
We are passionate about the proper management of e-waste. We recognize that the rise of e-wastes can undermine sustainable waste control practices and negatively affect the environment. Our commitment to handling e-waste flows from adherence to policies and best practices.
Some states ban the dumping of e-waste to curb the increase in e-waste. However, we do not consider a ban on e-wastes necessary. Instead, we support e-waste recycling.
We adopt the National Solid Water Management Authority (NSWMA) policy aimed at e-waste management and recycling. Thus, we encourage producers to minimize the toxic materials used in making electronics while maintaining quality standards.
We encourage the recycling of waste products. To this end, producers are to make products easy to disassemble. Recyclers, producers, and waste collectors also owe a duty to ensure environmental safety standards in managing e-waste. Support for alternative uses and markets for e-waste is also another policy procedure to ensure proper management.
We undertake to be a partner in proper electronic waste management and eliminate the adverse impacts they impose on our environment.