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WHAT IS ELECTRONIC WASTE?

Electronic waste is any electrical equipment that people throw away. Basically, once an electronic device no longer works well or isn’t new it is at the end of its “functional life”. This includes anything with wires, batteries, a screen, buttons, a circuitry system, or any other electrical thing. Electronic waste is also called E-waste.

WHY ELECTRONIC WASTE IS A PROBLEM

All over the world, people use electric gadgets. Many people have a lot of different electronic tools that make their jobs easier.

  • People may get rid of some of these things over time. This creates waste!
  • Engineers are getting better at making electronic gadgets that are more efficient and reliable as technology improves.
  • When new things come out, many people get rid of the old ones. This is usually done without taking into account what the device might do to the rest of the world.
  • People also throw away electronics when they decide to change their lifestyles. 
  • Currently, the demand for electronics is constantly growing. As a result, more and more gadgets are being made to meet consumer needs. This makes older electronics less valuable and so people throw them away. 
  • The problem of electronic waste has become a global problem. Older or broken electronic gadgets are thrown out in the wrong way. Not throwing away E-waste correctly causes big problems for the environment. 
  • E-waste is not only bad for the environment, but it is also bad for people’s health. So it’s important that we do something to make sure to protect the environment from E-waste.
effects of electronic waste on the environment

HOW DOES ELECTRONIC WASTE AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT

(Research from Science Direct)

  1. Air Pollution

  • Air pollution is when harmful things are put into the air. Millions of people are dying because of it.
  • E-waste that is not properly thrown away often ends up in landfills. Burning, shredding, and dismantling are the main ways that waste is managed in landfills.
  • Toxic fumes are released when electronic waste is burned. These fumes pollute the air. These fumes are made up of harmful gasses that cause harm to living things.
  • When people burn e-waste, they make greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide (CO2).  CO2 is one of the gasses causing climate change. 
  • Air is also polluted with harmful microscopic particles that come from dismantling or shredding e-waste.
  1. Impacts Water Quality

  • E-waste gets into water sources. Contamination is more likely to happen when electronic waste is thrown away near a source of water.
  • Electronic waste also gets into lakes, oceans, ponds, and rivers during bad weather. For example, tsunamis, and tornadoes all push nearby e-waste into water bodies.
  • Underground water sources are also easily polluted. Basically, the toxins from E-waste leak through the dirt. Reservoirs, where we get drinking water, are below the earth’s surface. The problem is that reservoirs are often connected to surface water. So, our drinking water gets polluted.
  • Contaminated water huts animals that live in the ground. Water pollution also harms animals and fish in the water.
  • Overall, environmental ecosystems suffer when there is a lot of pollution in the water. E-waste is a huge environmental concern.
  1. Soil Pollution

  • E-waste is hard to get rid of.  E-waste leaves heavy metals like arsenic, lead, chromium, and mercury in the soil. These heavy metals cause dangerous soil pollution. 
  • Some of these chemicals make the soil more acidic by lowering the pH. Low PH harms soil microorganisms. The loss of these extra small animals, microorganisms, leads to the loss of biodiversity.  Meaning there will be fewer types of animals. 
  • E-waste causes soil microbes to die. Soil microbes are microscopic creatures that are important for plant growth. They improve the soil’s ability to grow things like trees and plants. These tiny organisms move nutrients around.
  • E-waste breaks down into tiny pieces that build up in the soil over time. Then the small pieces are so small that plants eat them. This leads to plants having a lot of toxic chemicals in them.
  • Finally, toxic chemicals in plants hurt the animals living in a habitat. When the animals eat the plants they get sick and may even die.
Effects of electronic waste on human health

EFFECTS OF ELECTRONIC WASTE ON HUMAN HEALTH

  • Electronic waste is bad for people’s health. Electronic gadgets have chemicals in them that hurt people.
  • There is a good chance that people will breathe these toxic chemicals when E-waste is burned. In fact, there are respiratory problems that happen when people breathe in smoke from burning e-waste.
  • The more E-waste smoke someone breathes the sicker they get. In addition, the type of chemicals in the smoke has an effect as well.
  • Children are the most at risk.  The chemicals found in e-waste build up faster in children. This causes poisoning and even death. 
  • Toxins found in electronic waste cause harm to important body parts like the brain, kidney, lungs, heart, and liver.  They also cause harm to the nervous system. This is why you should be careful. E-waste must be recycled properly to protect our health.
  • The health effects of electronic waste are both short-term and long-term.

WHAT IS ELECTRONIC WASTE MANAGEMENT

The term “electronic waste management” describes all of the steps to handle and dispose of e-waste.

  • E-waste management helps keep the environment clean. It makes sure that electronic waste is properly disposed of.
  • People use different ways to deal with electronic waste. How they throw it away depends on the type of electrical and electronic equipment they have.
  • Some e-waste is broken down and used for parts, while others are thrown away as they are.

The amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills can only be cut down with the right kind of care.

CAN ELECTRONIC WASTE BE RECYCLED?

Recycling is how waste is made into new and reusable things.

  • Recycling is one of the waste management techniques when throwing out e-waste.
  • Through recycling, the parts that are still reusable can be saved.
  • Recycling saves the environment. It also helps plant and animal communities by stopping some pollution.
  • When e-waste is recycled, fewer toxins will be introduced into the soil, air, and water sources.
what electronic waste can be recycled

WHAT ELECTRONIC WASTE CAN BE RECYCLED?

Recycling is a good way of managing electronic waste. However, not all e-waste is recycled. Less than 20% of the e-waste made in the world is recycled. (Research from STEP- Solving the E-waste Problem)

The recycling industry focuses on stopping electronic waste from getting into the environment:

  • Kitchen Appliances

-People should recycle appliances such as blenders, electric kettles, ovens, and microwaves for parts.

  • Television Sets

-Many TVs end up in the trash before they are even broken. This is because some people just want to upgrade or get a TV with new features.   Recycling industries get useable metals and parts from these old TVs when people donate them.

  • Office Equipment

-Printers, fax machines, scanners, computers, and copiers are also recyclable.

electronic waste

ELECTRONIC WASTE DISPOSAL

By the day, the amount of e-waste in the environment is getting bigger and bigger. As more and more people use electronics, there is more and more electronic waste. Landfills are full of electrical and electronic equipment that people could recycle. E-waste chemicals have an effect on almost everything in the environment. E-waste pollutes the air, soil, and water.

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