Worldwide 50 Million tonnes of e-waste is generated every year.
By 2015, 2 Billion PCs are expected to invade our homes.
"E-waste" is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life.”E-wastes are considered dangerous, as certain components of some electronic products contain materials that are hazardous, depending on their condition and density. The hazardous content of these materials pose a threat to human health and environment. Discarded computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, fax machines, electric lamps, cell phones, audio equipment and batteries if improperly disposed can leach lead and other substances into soil and groundwater. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled in an environmentally sound manner so that they are less harmful to the ecosystem. This paper highlights the hazards of e-wastes, the need for its appropriate management and options that can be implemented.
E-waste management By IDA... Foundation
The foundation has tied up with E-waste management Solutions Company. Here we conduct seminar in various societies, school, college and educate them as the effects and consequences of non management of E-waste. As it's a hazardous material to dispose in open. Ida... Foundation establish a proper and exact solution of E-waste hence the E-waste collected from residence, school, college and other institutions will be properly managed and dispose. Otherwise such waste usually is throne in dumping which over the period of time not get decompose or recycled. We take care that each and every part of such waste is either recycled or inserted that helps saving land pollution.
Effects on Environment & Human Health
Disposal of e-wastes is a particular problem faced in many regions across the globe. Computer wastes that are land filled produces contaminated lactates which eventually pollute the groundwater. Acids and sludge obtained from melting computer chips, if disposed on the ground causes acidification of soil. For example, Guiyu, Hong Kong a thriving area of illegal e-waste recycling is facing acute water shortages due to the contamination of water resources.
This is due to disposal of recycling wastes such as acids, sludges etc. in rivers. Now water is being transported from faraway towns to cater to the demands of the population. Incineration of e-wastes can emit toxic fumes and gases, thereby polluting the surrounding air. Improperly monitored landfills can cause environmental hazards. Mercury will leach when certain electronic devices, such as circuit breakers are destroyed. The same is true for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from condensers. When brominated flame retardant plastic or cadmium containing plastics are land filled, both polybrominated dlphenyl ethers (PBDE) and cadmium may leach into the soil and groundwater. It has been found that significant amounts of lead ion are dissolved from broken lead containing glass, such as the cone glass of cathode ray tubes, gets mixed with acid waters and are a common occurrence in landfills.
Not only does the leaching of mercury poses specific problems, the vaporization of metallic mercury and dim ethylene mercury, both part of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is also of concern. In addition, uncontrolled fires may arise at landfills and this could be a frequent occurrence in many countries. When exposed to fire, metals and other chemical substances, such as the extremely toxic dioxins and furans (TCDD tetrachloride dibenzo-dioxin, PCDDs-polychlorinated dibenzodioxins. PBDDs-polybrominated dibenzo-dioxin and PCDFspoly chlorinated dibenzo furans) from halogenated flame retardant products and PCB containing condensers can be emitted. The most dangerous form of burning e-waste is the open-air burning of plastics in order to recover copper and other metals. The toxic fall-out from open air burning affects the local environment and broader global air currents, depositing highly toxic byproducts in many places throughout the world.
|Source of e-wastes
|Solder in printed circuit boards, glass panels and gaskets in computer monitors
Damage to central and peripheral nervous systems, blood systems and kidney damage.
Affects brain development of children.
|Chip resistors and semiconductors
- Toxic irreversible effects on human health.
- Accumulates in kidney and liver.
- Causes neural damage.
|Relays and switches, printed circuit boards
- Chronic damage to the brain.
- Respiratory and skin disorders due to bioaccumulation in fishes.
|Corrosion protection of untreated and galvanized steel plates, decorator or hardener for steel housings
||Hexavalent chromium (Cr) VI
- Asthmatic bronchitis.
- DNA damage.
|Cabling and computer housing
||Plastics including PVC
Burning produces dioxin. It causes
- Reproductive and developmental problems;
- Immune system damage;
- Interfere with regulatory hormones
|Plastic housing of electronic equipments and circuit boards.
||Brominated flame retardants (BFR)
Disrupts endocrine system functions
|Front panel of CRTs
Short term exposure causes:
- Muscle weakness;
- Damage to heart, liver and spleen.
- Carcinogenic (lung cancer)
- Inhalation of fumes and dust. Causes chronic beryllium disease or beryllicosis.
- Skin diseases such as warts.
Understanding Of E-Wastes
It is estimated that 75% of electronic items are stored due to uncertainty of how to manage it. These electronic junks lie unattended in houses, offices, warehouses etc. and normally mixed with household wastes, which are finally disposed off at landfills.
The Indian Scenario
While the world is marveling at the technological revolution, countries like India are facing an imminent danger. E-waste of developed countries, such as the US, disposes their wastes to India and other Asian countries. A recent investigation revealed that much of the electronics turned over for recycling in the United States ends up in Asia, where they are either disposed of or recycled with little or no regard for environmental or worker health and safety. Major reasons for exports are cheap labour and lack of environmental and occupational standards in Asia and in this way the toxic effluent of the developed nations 'would flood towards the world's poorest nations. The magnitude of these problems is yet to be documented. However, groups like Toxic Links India are already working on collating data that could be a step towards controlling this hazardous trade.
It is imperative that developing countries and India in particular wake up to the monopoly of the developed countries and set up appropriate management measures to prevent the hazards and mishaps due to mismanagement of e-wastes.
Management Options by IDA
Considering the severity of the problem, it is imperative that certain management options be adopted to handle the bulk e-wastes. Following are some of the management options suggested for the Resident.
Generators of wastes should take responsibility to determine the output characteristics of wastes and if hazardous, it should Properly Disposed to Recycle.
Use label materials to assist in recycling (particularly E-WATSE).
Encourage / promote / require green procurement for Company who Manages E-Waste.
Look at green packaging options.