In developing country like Ghana, the electronic waste is an environmental nightmare.
I recently watched a documentary about Ghana. The story revealed a breathtaking display of disturbing photographs of children around discard computers and boys hauling ray tubes and computer monitors. All I saw was a landscape cover with corpses of the information age, the end of the life of machinery of a generation of electronics.
Admittedly, we as an inhabitant of this planet are not meeting our responsibilities to the environment regarding e-trash. Computers are made up of hazardous materials such as mercury, lead, and arsenic. When they are thrown away or are burnt, these toxic metals are released into nature. Even when they are not burnt, the e-waste ends up into the land, slowly contaminating the water and the soil or the rain is merely wash them into the ocean. Yes, the photographs of e-waste in Ghana are shocking, proving that in this part of the world, the electronic trash has been less of a local legislative priority.
I think the current laws about e-waste are not working in a meaningful way and I believe more global rules and efforts should be implemented to protect the environment.
As of result of the federal hands-off policy, the more significant part of America’s e-trash in is exported. “This has a major impact on developing countries as loopholes in the current Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Directives allow the export of e-waste from developed to developing countries (70% of the collected WEEE ends up in unreported and largely unknown destinations” (United Nations, 2015). That amount of e-waste is expected to increase double and triple per year as consumers demand more and more “smart” products. The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 93.5 million tons in 2016 from 41.5 million tons in 2011. “The United States led e-waste dumping with 7.1 million tons in 2014” (Alister Doyle, Reuters 2015) and sadly as per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) reports only around thirty percent of electronics are recycled.
Ghana has become one of the primary spots for the world’s unwanted electronics. Environmentalists have expressed concern about the health consequences of improperly caring the hazardous materials. The open burning of plastics and metals, lift substantial amounts of particulate matter into the atmosphere which harm the people living nearby. Mobil phones and computers contain over one thousand different substances such as mercury, lead, zinc, nickel, chromium, beryllium, cadmium, antimony trioxide, etc.
I believe the role of policing the Environment should be left to the citizens of the world.
We should insist our legislature to enact more efficient environmental laws regarding e-trash because even we drop off our old computers with a recycling company or at a community collection drop boxes, this does not promise that it will be safely disposed of. I agree that there are honest recycling companies, who process the e-waste with an eye toward minimizing pollution and health risks and, I believe that every manufacturer must be legally obligated to set up an infrastructure to collect e-waste and assure responsible recycling. The engineers should invent building-size machines operating not unlike an assembly line but in reverse.
Electronic waste is an environmental horror that can be converted for something good.
Do you know that by recycling electronics we are conserving energy? Recycling one million computers saves the power equal to the electricity used by more than three thousand five hundred U.S. homes in a year. So, let’s stop exporting e-trash to the developing countries and build a whole new industry, here on our land.
United Nations Environment Programme. Global Partnership on Waste Management. Retrieved on May 5, 2018 from http://web.unep.org/gpwm/what-we-do/e-waste-management
Doyle, Alister. U.S., China top dumping of electronic waste; little recycled. Retrieved on May 5, 2018 from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-waste-idUSKBN0NA00V20150420