Understanding the Electronic Waste

We all know and understand the damage that pollution led to Global warming is causing to the environment. In present times it would not be wrong to say that we have even started facing the implications of it, in the form of extreme weather conditions, highly disastrous natural calamities, pollution driven sicknesses and what not. But do we realize in the crowd of all the drivers of the pollution there is yet another which does not seem dangerous at first but it is acting as a silent killer? No one talks about, at least not to the extent to which it should be talked about, and it is silently turning into the biggest threats to our environment, we are talking about electronic waste or popularly known as e-waste. We are here to introduce you to the potential danger that e-waste poses and why Electronic Waste Collection is important.


In the year 2019, the amount of electronic waste generated stood at 53.6 million and the percentage of it which was recycled stands at 17.4%. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO


Let us start with some data to ease up the understanding and need of Electronic Waste Collection. In the year 2019, the amount of electronic waste generated stood at 53.6 million and the percentage of it which was recycled stands at 17.4%, which is way less than what was generated. Now. let us see what all this electronic waste includes, it includes discarded computers, laptops, mobile phones, headsets, earphones, batteries, wires and whatever electronic item you can see around yourself when discarded forms electronic waste. You can imagine that all the electronic things that are part of your life if discarded by every person on earth will amount to how much electronic waste. It also estimated that till 2030, there will be around 74.7 million tones of electronic waste in the world, the thought to be terrifying. Owing to the pace at which technology is increasing and advancing, there is a shorter life span of the electronics that we have, moreover there is also an increasing craze of buying new electronics in the people, all this will only add fuel to fire if it is not handled or managed effectively and responsibly.


Now let us see how Electronic Waste Collection is done for its recycling:

  1. First, the e-waste is collected and then they are checked if they can be refurbished, which means that they can be given another life. If yes, then the device is forwarded for refurbishing.
  2. If the device is beyond repair or getting refurbished then Electronic Waste Collection is done that is sent in for recycling.
  3. For recycling, electronic waste is broken down into small parts, then those parts are categorized based on their physical as well as chemical properties.
  4. After categorization, these parts may be used for the manufacturing of many other devices and the chemicals that are used can also be used wherever they have their use.


Why is Handling of Electronic Waste Important?

  1. It is important because a lot of resources are used when a device is created, let alone the critical parts of it, even the wires and switches go into using a lot of resources that are in turn obtained from nature that involves a lot of mining, burning of fossil fuels etc. So recycling will lead to the repeated use of these products which are individually ready to be used and hence, saving the environment.
  2. A lot of Chemicals are also used in making devices like mercury, chlorofluorocarbon, silver, aluminum, chromium, nickel, brominated flame retardants are such chemicals which if left open in the environment can enter the water and food chain through soil and can cause instant or long term damage to humans and animals as well as plants also. For example, mercury, if exposed to humans can cause paralysis or brain damage. So they have to be treated carefully and with utmost responsibility.
  3. When we are talking of effects then we can never ignore the effects of chlorofluorocarbon on the ozone layer. This can be seen as the effect of e-waste on our environment.

As we have seen and tried to understand how important Electronic Waste Collection is for the sake of the environment. Recycling is one solution that can be termed as an optimum and sustainable solution for the problem of Electronic Waste. It is high time that we understand our responsibility towards our environment and acknowledge it.

Leave a Reply