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E-waste: A nasty side effect of the digital age

mobile phone scrap

 

E-waste is Australia’s fastest growing type of waste. Out of date, old and broken technology has become a common part of everyday life. It may be a teenager who simply must have the latest iPhone or a family that decides that it is cheaper and/or easier to replace their broken microwave rather than have it repaired. Whatever the case may be, e-waste can be found in a majority of households across the country.

In fact, e-waste can be found all around the world. E-waste accumulation shows no signs of slowing down as some of the more developing countries are introduced to new technologies. It is estimated that by the year 2017, the world’s e-waste will weigh around 72 million tons.

The problem faced with the ever growing amount of e-waste is the threat that it poses to the environment and the world’s population. Firstly, many electronic devices contain toxic heavy chemicals such as lead, mercury and cadmium which can have a devastating effect on the environment. Secondly, these chemicals can also be harmful to workers, particularly in poorer countries, who dismantle electronic devices for the valuable materials within, without suitable protective equipment.

Governments around the world are working with scientists in order to find a solution to the growing e-waste problem. The Victorian government has proposed placing a ban on the dumping of e-waste into landfill. It is hoped that this will boost the recycling and recovery of e-waste rather than letting materials contaminate the environment by sitting in landfill.

Last modified on Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:46

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