E-waste, or electronic waste, consists of old and non-functional electrical items that we do not use. It is a severe issue globally as it contains toxic chemicals like cadmium, mercury, and lead, which are very harmful. Moreover, improper e waste disposal can release these harmful chemicals like cadmium, mercury, lead, etc., into the environment, posing a threat to human health.
Moreover, e-waste also poses a threat to data security as well as it contains confidential information that is possible to leak. Hence, proper electronic waste management is imperative for the safe disposal of electrical items without causing harm to the environment.
Why is E Waste Disposal Important?
1. E-Waste Pollution Is a Serious Issue
E-waste is a growing problem. With technology advancement at such a fast pace, it can be challenging to keep up. The amount of e-waste generated from old cell phones, computers, and other electronics is increasing yearly. Here are some statistics about e-waste in India:
- In 2016, 18 million tons of electronic waste were generated in India alone. This number will increase to 20 million tons by 2024.
- In 2016, the US generated 35 million tons of e-waste. Only 25% was recycled, while the rest was disposed of through landfills or incinerators.
- The UK generates around 12 million tons per year.
2. Toxic Chemicals Like Cadmium, Mercury and Lead Are Found in Electronic Items
You might be wondering, “What are toxic chemicals?”
Toxic chemicals include cadmium, mercury, and lead. They are in electronic items such as televisions, computers, and tablets. These metals can leach into the environment when improperly disposed of e-waste.
Lead poisoning has been linked to hypertension, kidney damage, and neurological problems like cognitive impairment. Cadmium exposure has associated with lung disease and cancer development. Mercury poisoning causes tremors, weakness, muscle pain, and fatigue in the long term. However, immediate symptoms include sweating hands or feet, which may be cold to touch, and an increased heart rate.
3. E-Waste Is Difficult to Recycle
- E waste disposal is a complex process. It requires particular technologies, equipment, extensive recycling facilities, and storage space.
- E-waste recycling is still a profitable business today. Even though the e-waste market has grown rapidly in recent years. There are no high profits at this stage. It is because of expensive technology requirements and the high cost of transportation to the site for further processing. Some companies have started to use innovative approaches to solve these problems. But they have not used their full potential yet.
4. Incorrect Disposal of E-Waste May Lead To Exposure Of Data
Suppose you throw away your old electronic devices. Then you should be aware that unauthorized persons can access the stored data. There are many ways to do this, and there are several terms used to describe this activity:
- “Data Smuggling” refers to the act of removing data from a computer without permission. It’s referred sometimes to as “dumpster diving.”
- “Hard drive recovery” is used when someone wants to access information on an old hard drive. Then, put it on another computer system or device. For example, if you get rid of an old laptop, and someone finds it, they may try to recover any files they can find on the hard drive before discarding it themselves. If they’re able, they could potentially read your personal information from your old computer.
Fortunately, there are various things you can do both as consumers and manufacturers/retailers. So, we don’t leave ourselves vulnerable when disposing of our e-waste
5. It Poses a Threat to The Environment and Human Health
The threat to the environment and human health is not only from improper disposal of e-waste but also from exposure to toxic chemicals. Extensive research studies have proven that these poisonous substances risk people, animals, and plants. The improper disposal of e-waste may lead to data exposure, which could harm businesses or individuals.
We need to understand that there are ways through which electronic waste can be efficiently recycled and reused. Many valuable metals present in e-waste we can extract if collected properly by licensed recyclers. It means that recycling would help reduce global warming if done effectively.
6. E-Waste Management Requires Proper Disposal of Electric Waste to Reduce Their Harmful Effects on Humans and The Environment
Computer recycling is the responsibility of everyone. Everyone must participate in the e-waste management process by recycling electronic waste at home. In addition, we need to ensure that we buy only electronic products that we can recycle safely. Another important thing is that we should not throw away our old mobile phones and computers without erasing information. It is because all the information will be helpful for criminals for theft or identity fraud.
It’s important to remember that proper disposal of electric waste is not just about recycling. It also includes proper handling and safe collection from households through government agencies and private companies. They have a license from government authorities for this purpose. It causes serious health problems, but if disposed of properly, it could help generate energy from solar panels. Thus, it reduces greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, which causes climate change!
E-Waste Management is one of the world’s fastest-growing waste streams, with millions of tonnes generated annually. It is due to the increased usage of consumer electronics such as cellphones, laptops/desktop computers, etc. However, various countries do not have any legislation on e-wastes yet. So, most end up dumping into landfill sites where they leach harmful chemicals into groundwater systems. It causes widespread contamination, leading to death due to cancerous diseases caused directly or indirectly by long-term exposure.
We have come to the end of this article. Hopefully, by now, you understand the importance of e waste disposal. E-waste management is an essential issue in our world today. If we are to take care of it, we must all participate in proper recycling practices.