Humans left behind a record amount of e-waste in 2019
2019 set a record for the amount of e-waste ever created worldwide: 53.6 million metric tons of discarded phones, computers, appliances, and other gadgets. It’s more than the combined weight of all adults in Europe. It is also a 21% increase since 2014, according to a The new International report.
Only 17 percent of that waste was formally recycled, report finds. The majority of it is either sent to a landfill, burned, or disappeared somewhere in the bureaucratic ether when the authorities have lost track. The report was to document global progress on getting a handle on e-waste, the authors of the paper say. Instead, they found that the world is retracted.
They estimate that the problem only get worse. The amount of e-waste is expected to nearly double from 2014 levels by 2030. That is a threat to people’s health, according to the report, due to the trash in the can poison people handling it and the surrounding environment.
“We are at the beginning of a kind of explosion due to the increased power we see everywhere,” says Ruediger Kuehr, one of the authors of the report and director of the sustainable cycle in the program of the United Nations University. “It starts with toys, if you look at what is happening around Christmas, everything comes with a battery or plug. And on it goes, with mobile phones, TV sets, and computers, ” he says.
Kuehr’s team worked with the International Telecommunication Union, the International Solid Waste Association, United Nations Environmental Program, World Health Organization, and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Report on. This is the third global report produced since 2014.
Fifty tons of mercury is located within all of the e-waste that the authorities have lost track of, and much of that was likely released into the environment, according to the report. Mercury is a neurotoxin that affects the brain and faulty cognitive development of children. Millions of pounds of flat screen monitors filled with mercury was sent by a prominent American e-waste recycling companies to Hong Kong, where it posed a danger to workers tasked with disassembling it without proper training and gear to protect themselves. The owners of the company, Total reclaim, pleaded guilty to fraud after a federal investigation.
There is also the lost gold that is in all the garbage: $57 billion worth of gold, copper, iron and other minerals can be mined from last year’s e-waste alone, according to the report. Make use of that waste material can also reduce environmental damage from mining for new minerals.
Small electronics like video cameras, electronic toys, toaster, and electric shavers-made up the largest part of the 2019 of e-waste (about 32%). The next largest piece of the pie (24%) was made up of large equipment like kitchen appliances and copying machines. This group included in waste solar panel, which is not a very big problem, but could pose problems as relatively new technology gets older. The screen on monitors and produce about half as much garbage as a large equipment but still amounted to close to 7 million metric tons of e-waste in 2019. Small it and telecommunications equipment like phones add up to about 5 million metric tons of garbage.
Asia’s largest and most populous continent, creating the most e-waste in 2019. Europe had the highest rate of e-waste per capita, almost three times that of Asia. Europe also had the highest rate of collection and recycling of this waste.
Experts expect demand for electronics, followed by their disposal to grow fastest in places with a growing middle class. People who can’t afford to buy new gadgets in the past are starting to gobble them up. “This is a big challenge for mankind, mainly fueled by the fact that there is a growing middle class everywhere in the world,” Kuehr tells Along the way. “There is still a big appetite for [close] Digital distribution.”
Growing mounds of e-waste are only getting more complex and more toxic, according to Scott Cassel, who founded the non-profit product of the Leadership Institute. “The electronic companies have a great work designed for pleasure and performance, but the rapid change in consumer demand also means that they are designed for obsolescence. So today, latest, best product becomes tomorrow’s trash,” Cassel says.
Seventy-one percent of the world’s population in October 2019 lived under any kind of national e-waste policy or regulation according to the recent report. “If you look at the extremely low percentage of recycled e-waste, it is a sign that although these policies and legislation are in place, if not more,” says Mijke Hertoghs, head of Environment and Emergency Telecommunications Division, International Telecommunication Union. They say that more can be done to enforce these policies, while Cassel advocate for strong legislation.
Exchange of the electronics as well as equipment and waste at the global level. Efforts to keep it from growing to dangerous levels will need to be Global also Cassel and Hertoghs says.
“It’s not only that our oceans are filling with plastic. But our land filling with electronic waste, ” Cassel says.
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