The Importance Of Electronic Waste Management

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Electronic waste (E-waste) has become an emerging global environmental issue. It is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world and it can be considerably hazardous. In developed countries, it equals 1% of total solid waste on an average. UNEP estimates that 20-50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated around the world every year, which is more than 5% of the total municipal solid waste stream, and nearly the same amount as all the plastic packaging (UNEP, 2005). The e-waste stream is also estimated to increase by 3-5% every year, which is nearly three times faster than the municipal waste streams’ general growth (Arensman, 2000). This is a result of our constant desire for newer and more efficient technology, as well as the intense marketing by the producers, that make us replace our electronic devices more and more frequently. For example, cell phones now have an average life span of less than two years in the industrial world, and computers two to four years (Puckett et al., 2002; UNEP, 2005). The increasing “market penetration” in developing countries, “replacement market” in developed countries and “high obsolescence rate” make E-waste one of the fastest waste streams. There is a pressing need for optimized strategies for the improvement of electronic waste management among communities of nations. The presence of valuable recyclable components attracts informal and unorganised sector. The unsafe and environmentally risky practices adopted by them pose great
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