Between 2010 and 2015, China’s volume of e-waste rose by 107 percent
GLOBAL E-WASTE ARISING
“When collected, treated and recycled properly, e-waste is a rich “urban mine” – a source of valuable and precious resources”
Pollution is caused by numerous human activities and e-waste is a big contributor to global environmental pollution. A recent United Nations University study indicates the Asian countries are emerging as the potent hubs of e-waste. Rising income levels and falling prices of gadgets have contributed majorly to alarming growth of electric waste in Asia. The 12 Asian countries, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, have reportedly generated e-waste worth 12.3 million tonnes between 2010 and 2015.
Due to high population density and urban growth, large volumes of electronic waste in Asia arise in cities
The study findings are quite shocking and as per the data, Asian countries 2015 generate 63 percent more electronic waste compared to 2010. While electronic waste continues to be a major environmental hazard in many western countries, the sheer volume of electric waste in Asia has sent shock waves in many circles. China is one of the countries generating massive volume of e-waste per year and others are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Cambodia, and Japan.
Urban dwellers in China own more electric items compared to rural households
Electronics recycling facilities exist in some Asian countries but the infrastructure and management is subpar. Not all discarded gadgets are disposed properly and practices like burning of electronics add woes to the environmental. Using acids to extract silver or gold from circuit boards lead to generation of toxic fumes. It is another serious concern for environmentalists. Rampant dumping of gadgets and PC peripherals leading to soil and water toxicity, adds to the gravity of the situation. The devices that are dumped and disposed include household appliances too including TVs, air coolers, Smartphone etc.
E-waste arising per capita in East & Southeast Asia – the highest and the lowest 
Hong Kong - 21.7 kg/capita
Singapore - 19.95 kg/capita
Taiwan - 19.13 kg/capita
Average - 10.00 kg/capita
Philippines - 1.35 kg/capita
Vietnam - 1.34 kg/capita
Cambodia - 1.10 kg/capita
(Source: Regional E-waste Monitor)
Improper disposal and handling of electric waste in Asia is not only damaging to the environment. It is also paving the way to serious health hazards. The workers involved in the trade are susceptible to developing lung and skin ailments. Exposure to the toxic fume can cause various forms of cancer too.
Now that generation of Electric waste in Asia has reached such alarming proportions, governments and environmental bodies are gearing up to tackle the menace in a more effective way. The reality is that government policies and approaches towards handling electronic waste vary drastically from one country to other. Governments of Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia are yet to frame specific laws for management of electronic waste. Countries like Vietnam and Malaysia have come up with e-waste laws but implementation of those laws remain a challenge like neighboring nations. In Singapore, e-waste handling is done by public-private partnership.
Experts feel tighter legislations need to be made and deployed in countries where electronic waste generation has shot up substantially. The laws regarding both disposal of e-waste and import of such waste from other countries need to be made stricter. Along with law implementation in suitable manner, mass awareness regarding risks posed by rampant dumping of electronic waste need to be developed. Users of gadgets in Asian countries also need to be enlightened about possibilities of recycling older gadgets rather than dumping them fast and getting newer ones. These steps are necessary to rein in the unprecedented growth of Electric waste in Asia.
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