Reports Show Increasing Amount of toxic 'E-Waste'

A “catastrophic accumulation” of millions
of tonnes of “e-waste” from computers, cellphones and television
sets is fuelling a global pile of hazardous waste.

Geneva, Switzerland - An upcoming report from the Basel
Convention on transboundary movement of hazardous waste is said to
show a “catastrophic accumulation of e-waste” that could prove to
be hazardous.

“I’d say its something in the region of six billion tons, it’s a
rough estimate,” said Katharina Kummer Peiry, executive secretary
of the international agreement.

“E-waste did not even exist as a waste stream in 1989 and now
it’s one of the largest and growing exponentially,” Peiry said.

The AFP reported that a UN Environment Program report found that
the pileup of e-waste could soon reach 50 million tons per

“Add an increasing demand for electronic gaming,
higher definition televisions or smart cars, and the result is a
catastrophic accumulation of e-waste, now and into the future,”
said the Basel Convention.

In late October, Indian officials held a two-day International
Conference on Heavy metals and E-waste in New Delhi, during which
Priti Mahesh, senior program officer of Toxic Link said e-waste is
a “major problem and growing at the rate of 10 to 15 percent

“We think by 2010, the e-waste in India will go up to 800,000
tons,” said Mahesh.

With just six regular recycling facilities, India has only an
annual recycling capacity of 27,000 tons, according to pollution
control officials.

“The unmitigated use of heavy metals and toxics has a
long-standing and far-reaching impact on the planet. It impacts our
environment and human health directly. Sustainable and safe
alternatives need to replace these dangerous chemicals immediately
to safeguard the planet”, said Ravi Agarwal, Director of Toxic

The group also found that as workers with bare hands dissemble
e-waste, many of them become exposed to dangerous metals such as
barium, lead, copper and cadmium.

“It’s already a problem and on its way to becoming worse because
97 percent of waste gets recycled in hazardous conditions,” said


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