A Cold-Blooded Killer-“E-WASTE”
By Sanjenbam Jueshwor Singh
We all have been talking about “ENVIRONMENTAL Problems and Ecological Imbalance ”like, Global warming, Water pollution, soil pollution, Air pollution, Noise pollution, Ozone layer
depletion etc. due to deforestation, Industrial influents, Industrial smoke, vehicular smoke
and many other human activities. YES, now it has become a great threat to all the living and nonliving components on the Earth. In addition to these there is another new kind of threat to the Environment and biological components on the Earth, that is nothing but “E-WASTE”, which we common people never thought of it. “E-Waste” is a popular, informal name for electronic product nearing the end of their useful life. E-waste are considered dangerous as certain components of some electronic product
contains materials that are hazardous depending on their condition and density. The hazardous
contents of these materials pose a threat to human health and Environment. Discarded
Computers, Televisions, VCRs, Stereos, Copiers, Fax machines, electric lamp, 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 Eco-system.
These days computers and cell phones have become most common and widely used gadgets
in all kinds of activities. E-toxic components in these gadgets could be circuit containing heavy
metals like lead and cadmium, batteries containing cadmium, cathode ray tubes with lead oxides
and barium brominated flame retardants used on printed circuit boards (PCB), cables and plastic
casing ,polyvinyl chloride(PVC) coated copper cables and plastic computers casing that release
highly toxic dioxins and furans when burnt to recover valuable metals, mercury switches, mercury
in flat screens, polychlorinated biphenyl present in older capacitors transformers etc. The
hazardous contents of these materials pose an Environmental and health threat.
Rapid changing in technology, changes in media (tapes, software, MP3) and planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast growing surplus of electronics waste around the globe. An estimated 50 million tons of E-waste are produced each year. The U.S.A discards 30 million computers each year and 100 million phones are disposed of in Europe each year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15-20% E-Waste is recycled, the rest of these go directly into landfills and Incinerators. In 2006, the United Nations estimated the amount of worldwide electronic waste discarded each year to be 50 million metric tons. According to a report by UNEP titled “Recycling from E-waste to Resource “the amount of E-Waste being produced including mobile phones and computers could rise by as much as 500% over the next decades in some countries such as India. The USA is the World leader in producing electronic waste tossing away about 3 million tons each year. China already produces about 2.3 million tons domestically, second only to USA.
The process of dismantling and disposing of E-Waste in developing countries led to a number of environmental impacts. Liquid and atmospheric release end up in bodies of water, ground water, soil and therefore in land and Sea animals – both domestic and wild, in crops eaten by both animals and human and in drinking water. E-waste presents a potential security threat to individual and exporting countries. Hard drives that are not properly erased before the computer is disposed of can be reopened, exposing sensitive information, credit card numbers, private financial data, account information and records of online transaction can be accessed by most willing individuals.
Manipur though a small state, has this burden of E-Waste but our public, even educated persons and students have least awareness about this problem and its effect. Thus effective awareness program for proper management of E-waste is necessary while disposing e-waste, among our people before it becomes chronic as in other states and country. Specially, Manipur being a land lock state still
needs more careful as whatever e-waste disposed improperly will go to the Loktak Lake through
water bodies falling in to it and it will boomerang to us through fishes and vegetables from Loktak. I therefore appeal specially to our youths and general public not to dispose E-waste improperly which are abundant in every families of Manipur. Government, should also take up proper initiatives in this regard.
(Writer can be reached to:[email protected])
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