Consumer electronics have become an integral part of everyday life and are revolutionizing the way we convey, recover information, and enjoy entertainment. Between PCs, TVs, cell phones, electronic amusements, and even gadgets which measure metabolic rate, it is assessed that the normal individual possesses 24 electronic items.
We live in a society where more current is better, and for each new electronic device that enters in market, at least one ends up noticeably obsolete or achieves end-of-life. Therefore, electronic waste, which is also recognized as E‐Waste, is a combination of used or unwanted electronic devices that have exceeded their shelf life or as any bit of electronic device which has achieved the finish of its helpful life, has turned into the quickest developing segment of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream around the world. Internationally, more than 50 million tons of E-Waste were disposed in 2009 and this number is expected to increase to 72 in upcoming years.
Hazardous components of E-Waste
Hazardous compounds are found at various places in electronic equipment. However, there are certain components and materials that more frequently contain these substances.
Capacitors containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury-containing components such as switches or backlighting lamps, batteries, PC-boards of mobile phones and of other devices, asbestos waste, cathode ray tubes, freons and hydrocarbons, gas discharge lamps, external electrical cables, ceramic fibres, components containing radioactive substances, electrolyte capacitors containing substances of concern, brominated flame retardants, dioxins, chlorinated, phenols and benzenes, polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCN), chlorinated paraffins, chlorinated benzenes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), triphenyl phosphate, phthalates, fluorinated compounds, liquid crystals display (LCD), toner dust photocopiers and laser printers and nanoparticles.
Impact of products from E-Waste in human health
There are chances of accidents like cuts and burns during the dismantling, shredding, acid baths, and incineration process, in addition, exposure to following chemicals have many long-term effects. Phthalates such as DEHP in this monomer form affects the development of testis, butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) also hazardous to a reproduction system and affects liver and kidneys.
Accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fishes and other aquatic organism’s results in bioaccumulation which have a negative impact on human’s health, may enter inter in skin through absorbance, inhalation or ingestion and cause various diseases like neurotoxicity, liver damage, tumors, immunosuppression and behavioral changes, and reproductive disorders. Chlorobenzene, another toxic substance, causes acute/chronic diseases in mammals, like central nervous system, liver, and thyroid. Increasing degree of chlorination such as tetra chlorobenzenes has negative effects on kidneys.
E-Waste constitutes over 5% of metropolitan waste around the world and is the quickest developing class of waste. The natural effects are identified with the dangerous substances contained in E-Waste and certain hazardous reusing practices. The poisonous substance of E-Waste is established of an assortment of materials containing lethal substances that could deteriorate the soil and groundwater when discarded. These incorporate overwhelming metals, for example, mercury, lead, cadmium, and chrome, fire inhibitors. To be sure, leaching from a site or distribution center containing E-Waste can influence the compound nature of water, which at that point saturates the soil, at long last coming to the groundwater. Soil defilement can be considered if overwhelming metals are versatile and don’t develop in the soil. They will be exchanged to the groundwater and plants, and cause adulteration. In the event that the overwhelming metals are not versatile, they don’t represent an imminent danger to the living organisms, yet prompt as long lasting, irreversible and deteriorate the environment.
Safe methods for disposal of E-Waste and managing authorities
Most safe strategy is reusing/recycling materials including metals and reusing them, which incorporate industry wide framework for the gathering of E-Waste. Actualizing appropriate principles to make following as obligatory wearing defensive covers and gloves and well-being glass when disassembling and maintain a strategic distance from simple techniques for extraction, for example, cremation which comes about unsafe exhaust, abstain from dumping and abstain from utilizing corrosive showers, and executing strict guidelines against dumping e-squanders in landfills as it could filter out towards ground water or might be discharged after a long time.
Make a move against unapproved unlawful E-Waste gatherers, support looks into researchers in discovering contrasting options to risky chemicals and cancer-causing agents, restricting electronic items with unsafe fixings, checking the transportation of E-Waste inside the state city confines and also ports and harbors. Additionally, executed the framework to make electronic fabricates to assume liability for their items. Thus, electronic makes are given an incredible obligation to gather the items after their utilization and re-using them. It is additionally vital to teach the general population on taking care of and transfer of e-squander through mindfulness programs.
In the structure, specialists might prepare environmental NGOs and people from line services and parastatals to secure essential comprehension of E-Waste administration and an inspiration to take part in exercises for enhancing the nature of the earth and create aptitudes for waste administration. This preparation should be guided by helping implementors to expand their understanding, awareness, and aptitudes in E-Waste handling. It is the obligation of these prepared individuals to teach into the masses solid sentiments principally to build up a worry for proper E-Waste management. The improvement of group construct awareness program in light of E-Waste ought to consider the following aspects;
- The programme should help the participants to develop an interest in improving the quality of their immediate environment and increase the awareness about environmental health.
- The programme should raise the awareness of and knowledge about E-Waste management, impart positive attitudes and motivate action about it.
- It should provide continuity and progression because behavior modification is a long-term habit
It will be linked with community realities and cater for the community’s E-Waste problems as best as it could.
This article is jointly authored by Dr. Wajid Nasim Jatoi and Rida Akram -Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Vehari-Pakistan.