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What To Do With 53.6 million metric tons (Mt) of E-waste?

Electronic waste or e-waste means discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for refurbishment, reuse, resale, salvage recycling through material recovery, or disposal. In simply, e-wastes are broken, non-working or old electric electronic appliance.

Currently we are facing the grows of technology of cell phones, chargers, earphones, radios, laptops, computers, tablets, smart watches, television, printers, smoke alarms and more. Thus, it is logic to have abundance of e-waste and we need to cur and handle it with knowledge.

A record 53.6 million metric tons (Mt) of e-waste – discarded products with a battery or plug such as computers and mobile phones – is reported generated worldwide in 2019, up 9.2 Mt in five years. Toxic and hazardous substances such as mercury, brominated flame-retardants (BFR) or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are found in many types of electronic equipment and pose severe risk to human health and the environment. They also predicts global e-waste will reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost double the 2014 figure.

Global E-waste Monitor stated that in 2019, only 17.4 per cent of e-waste was officially documented as formally collected and recycled. In 2018, the highest policy-making body of the Internationally Communication Union (ITU), the Plenipotentiary Conference, established a target to increase the global e-waste recycling rate to 30 per cent by 2023. The formal collection and recycling rate would have to increase in order to hit that target.

Plus, the number of countries that have adopted a national e-waste policy, legislation or regulation has increased from 61 to 78 between 2014 and 2019. In many regions however, regulatory advances are slow, enforcement is low, and the collection and proper e-waste management is poor. ITU Member States also set a target to raise the percentage of countries with an e-waste legislation to 50 per cent – or 97 countries – by 2023. ITU provides a programmed dedicated to e-waste policy and regulatory development, where member states can request ITU technical assistance and capacity building support.

United Nation Global E-waste stated that China was the biggest contributor to e-waste with 10.1 million tons, and followed by the United States with 6.9 million tons. India, with 3.2 million tons, was the third biggest contributor. The three countries accounted for nearly 38 per cent of the world’s e-waste last year. Then, China stopped accepting e-waste out of concern for its environment and it makes Europe and North America began shipping more of it to Southeast Asia—Vietnam and Thailand, whose ports have been overwhelmed, are curbing imported e-waste as well.

Let’s look up to our country, Malaysia. In Sungai Muda, Kedah – a former sand mining pool next to a main water source for Kedah and Penang is now filled with e-waste, raising concerns of a looming pollution crisis amid a water shortage caused by the current dry spell in the region. Just metre away is Sungai Muda, which supplies water to over 50,000 padi farmers, as well as the main source of water for Kedah and Penang. Move to the West Cost, Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, Selangor (Kampung Jenjarom, Pulau Carey, Kampung Sungai Cheding) – openly burn of e-waste by the unauthorized people. Some of people said maybe it come from nearby factory. It create unpleasant reaction of the community because of thick smoke and awful smell from the substance of the electronic waste. Almost 5 tonnes successfully brought out from that place.

Maybe you have wonder, where can I discard e-waste? You may look up on Household E-Waste Department of Environment Malaysia website. They had stated the stores that accept e-waste and it available in every state. Let’s not make it our reason for dumping or stored in our home and factory. It is our responsibility to teach and tell our parent, friends and network society in order to educate and create awareness in electronic waste. Have ever watched Wall-E: A Portrait of Earth’s Grim Future? Maybe it starter for us to make changes.

In conclusion, to all person that has read this article, please understand about e-waste. We buy and we use. Surely, we must know to discard it. Do you think we can win over e-waste?

 

Prepared by,

Norhanan Binti Abdul Latip,

Seri Kembangan, Selangor.

 


References:

  1. (Nambiar, 2020) https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/02/03/sungai-muda-kedahs-source-of-water-under-threat-of-pollution-from-e-waste-dump/
  2. (Department of Environment, Miinistry of Energy, Science, Technology, Envionment & Climate Change, n.d.) https://www.doe.gov.my/hhew/
  3. (Media Prima Group, n.d.)https://www.buletintv3.my/video/aduan-rakyat/aduan-rakyat-or-timbunan-sisa-e-waste-ancam-kesihatan-penduduk
  4. (Ravi, 2020)https://thelogicalindian.com/environment/536-million-tonnes-of-e-waste-dumbed-globally-in-2019-22092?infinitescroll=1
  5. (International Telecommunication Union, n.d.)https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Environment/Pages/Spotlight/Global-Ewaste-Monitor-2020.aspx

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