Tsunami of E-Waste Harmful for Children

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Talking of saving our environment from pollution of all kinds, little is spoken about e-waste. For the G7 Summit that was held in the UK a few days back, two British artists Joe Rush ad Alex Wreckage recreated ‘Mount Rushmore’ as a sculpture with the faces of the global leaders who attended the event. What’s more interesting is the fact that they created this sculpture using recycled e-waste! The motive for creating this innovative sculpture was to create awareness about rising quantities of e-waste. In a recent statement made on 15th June 2021, the WHO warned the world about the ‘tsunami of e-waste’ that is putting the lives of millions of children across the globe at great risk. Between 2014-2019, e-waste has risen by a whopping 21%! This is attributed to the rising use of electronics and digitisation of all sectors.

This statement stems from the fact that e-waste or electronic waste undergoes informal processing and exposes millions of children, adolescents and expectant mothers to toxins emitted from them. The WHO report draws the world’s attention to the 12.9 million women who work in the informal waste sector and get exposed to this e-waste and increase the health risk to their unborn children. In 2019, the Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership (GESP) discovered that 17.4% of e-waste that was collected and recycled properly led to the release of 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

What makes e-waste dangerous is the release of harmful substances like mercury, lead, nickel, etc., during the recovery of valuable materials like gold, copper from them. Harmful and potentially carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are also released in large amounts from e-waste. The statistics of the rising amount of e-waste are alarming and creates a worrying situation as this waste is jeopardizing the health of the world’s future- the children!

With more and more people spending their time indoors, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of electronic goods has only increased. While we look at saving our land, water bodies, air and other resources, we must also join hands to recycle e-waste and reduce its impact on our future generations!

Sources:
  • WHO (https://www.who.int/news/item/15-06-2021-soaring-e-waste-affects-the-health-of-millions-of-children-who-warns)
  • https://in.mashable.com/tech/22924/the-giant-heads-of-mount-recyclemore-highlight-the-worlds-e-waste-problem)
  • https://www.moneylife.in/article/e-waste-is-a-treasure-trove-that-needs-to-be-tapped/64226.html
Featured Image Source: Image by Maruf Rahman from Pixabay
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About the author

Dr Meenakshi (BDS, GMHE) is a Dentist by profession and went ahead to pursue her management certificate programme from the prestigious IIM Bangalore. After having worked in a few startups, she shifted her career path and took up writing. Today, she works with multiple startups as a content writer and marketer and is also the executive editor of this magazine.

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