Thursday, May 2, 2019

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Electronics waste or e-waste is the waste of discarded electrical or electronic devices. Some of the e-waste products are discarded computers, mobiles, laptops, etc. E-waste is a big problem because of its adverse effects on the environment. Electronic wastes are very helpful if they can be reused. Due to advancement in technology at high speeds, the destiny of used phones is landfill after a few years of use. Some computer parts can be reused in new computer products and some other parts can be reduced to metals that can be reused in several other applications like construction and jewellery. Some of the mostly found e-waste materials are resins, fibreglass, PCBs, PVC, thermosetting plastics, lead, tin, aluminium, etc.

E-waste has a great impact on our environment because of its quantity and also because of what is been done to them. Even if nothing is done to them like burning, this waste is very harmful. Electronics components like CPU contain harmful elements such as lead (used for soldering), cadmium, beryllium or brominated flame retardants. These harmful materials pollute our soil and water. According to a study in Ghana, because of e-waste presence of lead in soil was as high as 18,125 ppm. Lead is a very harmful element for plants and animals. However, Ghana is the place where most of the e-waste in the world is sent to be burned. E-waste landfills burn electronic components and due to this activity, toxic chemicals like lead dioxins and furans are released in the atmosphere. This also affects the health of employees who work in the plant.

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E-waste in Nigeria

In countries like Ghana, the employees are children who are suffering from poverty. They have no other option but to burn the waste to get money. They don't know how harmful burning of e-waste can affect their health. They work there for money spoiling their whole life.

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We can do many good things with e-waste. We can reuse and benefit poor people by giving them this low-cost technology who can't afford to buy a brand new gadget. We can give them access to this low-cost electronics so that they get the benefit and we save a lot of energy which is used to recycle them and also stop releasing harmful chemicals in the air. We can also give chance to repairing industries so that they can also grow and create employment in that field.

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The problem of e-waste is huge and is getting bigger every day. More than 100 million computers are thrown away in the USA and less than 20% of this waste is recycled and as a result why 60 million metric tons of e-waste enters the landfill every year. So, the problem of e-waste is a rising threat to our environment. It also impacts innocent children and workers from poor countries who are forced to practice things like plastic burning to earn. So as a consumer this is our responsibility to reuse our gadgets as long as we can and repair them as long as it is possible.

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