Electronic waste that poisons the planet

Electronic waste that poisons the planet

Every year, E-waste quantities are rising three times faster than the world’s population, the UN News Center reports. We cannot imagine our life without refrigerators, air conditioners, laptops, smartphones and other electronic and electrical equipment.

Improving the standard of living most of the world’s population has caused a growing demand for electronic gadgets and equipment with discarded old products growing trend. All this leads to the growth of e-waste.

According to a new report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), co-authored by a number of other agencies, in 2019, 53.6 million tons of computers, laptops, set-top boxes, mobile phones, televisions, refrigerators and other consumer electronics were dumped in landfills.

 This is 21 percent more than five years ago By 2030, the volume of electronic waste can reach 74 million tons, which is actually double in just 16 years. Household waste contains the most electronics. It is often easier and even cheaper for people to buy a new product than to repair old equipment.

“Over the past 5 years, the volume of e-waste has increased three times faster than the world’s population, and 13 percent faster than global GDP,” ITU representative Dorin Bogdan-Martin said. She emphasized that heaps of e-waste are a consequence of the fourth industrial revolution.

Experts from the International telecommunication Union warn that e-waste is a serious threat to the environment and human health. Many discarded devices contain toxic elements or dangerous substances, such as mercury, which negatively affect the human brain or coordination system.

To date, only 17.4 percent of electronic waste is processed officially in a safe environment for people. The rest of the equipment is being discarded. Gold, silver, copper, platinum and other expensive elements contained in the equipment are found in landfills. Their total cost is estimated at 57 billion US dollars – an amount greater than the gross domestic product of most countries.

In most parts of the world, the volume of accumulated electronic waste is much greater than the share of those disposed of in safe conditions.

“In order to raise awareness of this growing problem, more joint efforts are needed,” said Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and research (UNITAR), which participated in the preparation of the report.

Statistics show that in 2019, Asia accounted for about 24.9 million tons of electronic waste, followed by North and South America – 13.1 million tons and Europe – 12 million tons. In poor countries, there is much less waste, such as Africa and Oceania – 2.9 million and 0.7 million tons accordingly.

Mikhail EREMIN