U.N. Study Estimates that we Dumped 53.9 Million Tons of E-Waste Last Year

Published By : 16 Dec 2013 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) is creating one of the biggest pollution hazards globally. These fears reflect in a study carried out by the United Nations (UN) where it states that approximately 53.9 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide last year. This mass dumping of e-waste is likely to have grave implications on the environment, and need to be addressed at an early stage. 

The data for the study was collated by an Initiative under the UN, called Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP). Delve slightly deeper into the figures and it emerges that an average person was accountable for producing almost 7kg of e-waste annually by discarding used electronic and electrical items such as refrigerators, television sets, cell phones, as well as computers.

E-waste typically comprises substances and materials that are hazardous to the health of human and animals; hence warranting a safe disposal. Much of the wrongful disposal of e-waste stems from a lack of awareness regarding the right disposal methods and a lackadaisical approach on the part of the authorities.

Further, figures from the StEP project that by 2017, the total amount of e-waste generated could touch a staggering 72.1 million metric. That’s around 200 times more than the weight of the Empire State Building!

According the executive secretary of this initiative Ruediger Kuehr, the lack of comprehensive data pertaining to e-waste hitherto has been one of the reasons why consumers and enforcement agencies alike haven’t been able to gauge the magnitude of the e-waste problem. While technology certainly makes our lives easier, the impact of e-waste remains a serious threat to our health and environment. This problem can only be mitigated with the right monitoring, regulation and enforcement.

The study further states that last year, the highest amount of e-waste was dumped by the U.S. (10.3 million tons) followed by China (8 million). The e-waste dumping rate in China is likely to rise this year with China’s market in 2012 consisting of a higher volume of electronic goods than the U.S.

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