E-waste Management

On October 4, 2011, in E Waste Management, by Sushant

E-waste management is an issue which is proving hazardous in many developing countries. With the increase in technological goods, many of which consist of obsolete and harmful technologies as dumped on by advanced countries, developing countries face a rise in toxicity levels in their environment unless the e-waste management policies are not brought into effect.

E-waste is the collective term given to all forms of electrical and electronic appliances which are discarded by society. Since such items are non bio degradable and often are made of materials which can prove toxic to the environment, the e-waste management is a burning issue in many developed and developing countries.

E-waste Management Most electronic goods which are discarded are found to gather dust in many storage units in different countries while they await to be reused, recycled or to be broken down. The Environmental Protection Agency of US is one such organization which is actively into monitoring the e-waste management. They have also noted that most discarded electronic appliances like computers are stocked up in garages or closet spaces and eventually end up in landfills or even incinerators if not exported to developing countries.

In most countries e-waste management ends up in such discarded goods being part of landfills. As the atmospheric elements work on such products, toxic chemicals are released into the air which directly impacts the communities of people living nearby as well as the atmosphere. Many European countries follow regulations regarding electronic wastes being dumped in landfills but in other countries such rules are to be more effectively enforced.

Incineration might be another way of e-waste management but it has its side effects as well. Burning of electronic products can lead to rise in metals such as lead, mercury in the atmospheric air which then gets into the food chain such as through fishes. The by products which are produced by incineration such as the brominated flame retardant chemicals leaving behind brominated dioxins are equally toxic and lead to environmental pollution if not discarded safely.

Reuse is a e-waste management technique and it is the policy followed by developed countries which export old technologies to developing countries. However, with the decreasing lifespan of such technologies, the e-waste is accumulating faster in developing countries where stringent waste disposal methods are not followed.

Recycling is another way to effectively manage e-waste. However, unless recycling is done in controlled conditions such as in recycling plants, manual methods can harm the workers who work in recycling disposal areas. E-waste management in India is thus one of the hazardous areas which exposes the lives of many who work in such waste management areas and proper methods and techniques need to be implemented for the safety of workers and the environment.

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