E-waste Becoming Massive Environmental Issue In Developing Countries

A latest UN report is advising developing countries to be prepared to deal with a spate of e-waste materials, such as used mobile phones, computers and other gadgets, unless they put into force some effective recycling procedure.

The urgency in addressing the issue of the disposal of e-waste in the developing economies is driven by soaring sales of electronic gadgets estimated in the coming ten years in these nations.

According to the study, the levels of e-waste from used computers will rise by 500 percent in India and by 200 to 400 percent in China and Latin America in 2020 from the levels in 2007, the study claimed.

The study, conducted by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) along with EMPA, a Switzerland-based material testing laboratory, has further claimed that the developing nations lack proper recycling mechanisms to dispose the e-waste, which may lead to causing serious threats to the environment and public health.

Inadequate recycling or e-waste disposal techniques, which include incineration of used gadgets, are extremely hazardous to environment, the study noted.

Achim Steiner, the Under-Secretary General of the UN and the Executive Director of the UNEP, said in a statement: “This report gives new urgency to establishing ambitious, formal and regulated processes for collecting and managing e-waste via the setting up of large, efficient facilities in China”.

Our Comments

E-waste, as an environmental problem, will be a major revenue driver over the next decade as millions of tons of components go to waste and demand for raw material explodes as many companies have identified emerging economies as their next frontier.

Related Links

UN Warns Developing Countries of Growing E-waste

(PC World)

Developing Nations Risk E-Waste Crisis

(Information Week)

Electronic waste threatens world

(Press Association)

China, India adding to e-waste timebomb: UN


UN calls for action on growing electronic waste