The consumption of electronic devices has skyrocketed to an astounding degree in recent years. As technology expands and develops at such a degree, an ugly byproduct emerges: electrical and electronic waste, also known as “e-waste”, is being produced across the globe in huge amounts. According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), roughly 40 million metric tons of e-waste is produced each year around the globe, 13 percent of which is recycled in developing countries.
Developing countries with rapidly-growing economies handle e-waste from more developed countries, in addition to their own consumers. For example, an estimated 70 percent of e-waste handled in India comes from other countries. Recycling valuable elements from e-waste, such as copper and gold, has become a source of income for many people from emerging industrialized countries. However, the recycling methods for acquiring these materials are extremely primitive, such as burning cables for copper and/or gold, and expose those who do it o a wide array of hazardous substances. Direct contact with harmful materials, whether that’s from inhaling toxic fumes, touching them or their accumulation in soil, water and food, leads to no shortage of problems, both health and environmental.
Children are particularly at risk to these health problems, as their developing central nervous, immune, reproductive and digestive systems could all suffer irreversible damages. This means that children need more specific protection when handling e-waste. Regardless, e-waste needs to be handled properly, so that the toxins associated with it don’t lead to such diseases as cancer and neurological disorders. If you’d like to learn more, then you can click here!