Electronic Waste Major Problem in Developing World
A study by the U.N. Environmental Program warns that waste generated by electronic products and components pose major environmental and health hazards to the world in general and in particular to the world’s developing nations. Richer nations are already using developing countries as dumping grounds for their e-waste. This e-waste problem will only grow as continued development spurs sales of electronic devices in these poorer countries. The report indicates that communication devices such as cell phones and pagers are responsible for the fastest growth in electronic waste. Obsolete computer and refrigerator components are also major contributors to the problem.
The U.N. report calls for the regulation of collection and management of electronic waste. Developing nations such as China and India, which currently perform inefficient and unregulated recycling of electronic waste leading to hazardous conditions for their populations, will need to come up with systems of e-waste regulation. Of particular concern is that although the waste from electrical products represents only a small percentage of the world’s total waste, the toxicity of its components generate more dangerous pollution than the larger mass of traditional waste in landfills.