Problems with E-Wasteby Tamika Johnson
With more and more electronics integral to how we live our lives and conduct business, how these products are disposed is a great concern for nations the world over. With the high level of toxicity of most electronic goods, proper disposal is imperative to prevent position of the land, water and population. Below are some of the more common problems with e-waste.
The electronics industry today creates products so they will break early and often, forcing the consumer to buy a new product, since the purchase of a new product is generally cheaper then fixing the older product. Producers of electronics build this obsolescence into their products. Planned obsolescence it means there are massive quantities of electronic products being discarded every year and landing in landfills or under-developed nations.
Large quantities of trash and places to put the trash are becoming major issues for the developed world and remain a major issue for underdeveloped nations. With cell phones, computers and other personal electronic devices becoming more popular throughout the world as well as the rapid change in technology making products obsolete faster, where to put this e-waste is a major question for countries around the globe.
E-waste tends to be very toxic. Electronic waste leeches various heavy metals into the ground that can seep into ground water. Most electronics aren't properly disposed of and the damaged electronics fill landfills polluting the land. Types of heavy metals found in e-waste include lead and copper and other metals that are linked to cancer and developmental disorders
Passing to Third World Nations
In an attempt to recycle their electronic waste many developed nations donate or sell their old computers and other electronics to Third World nations. Often the donated equipment ends up in landfills not properly disposed of, even if they are useful for a time. Most underdeveloped nations don't have the money or the necessary technology to properly dispose of or recycle old electronics. The toxicity of e-waste poses a particular problem for undeveloped nations because of the many open landfills and the poor seeking to hand extract the metals from e-goods for resale.
Difficult to Recycle
Recycling electronic waste is very difficult and can be very costly. While some equipment can be recycled with ease such as laptop computers, other pieces of equipment such as the cathode ray tube found in CRV monitors can be very expensive and very difficult to recycle. Often, even once all of the valuable parts of old electronics has been recycled, the rest of the equipment still ends up in the landfills with many toxic components.