E-Waste: India is a country with one of the highest populations in the world. As one of the most populated countries, it also produces tonnes of E-Waste every year which goes unnoticed by the people of our country. The full form of e-waste is electronic waste. Now it can be understood easily, it is basically the thrown away or not using electronic items by the people. The electronic items include computers, mobile phones and other products made up of electronic equipment. In today’s modern world, we are totally astonished and attracted towards the newly launched electronic products in the market. However, the marketing of all these electronic products is also remarkable.
Nevertheless, we should also understand that all these electronic products average life is not more than 2 years and it becomes e-waste eventually affecting the health and environment at the same time. In the forthcoming paragraphs, we will discuss the environmental and health issues due to e-waste.
Effect of E-Waste on our Health
According to the experts, most electronic equipment contains dangerous metallic items like cadmium, lead-brominated flame-retardants and beryllium. In e-waste, many metals such as iron, copper, and aluminium are more than 60 per cent. On the other hand, pollutants consist of 2.70 per cent and plastic present in it is 30 per cent. It is widely known that lead is one of the precarious toxic metals. It contaminates the environment which causes many health hazards. Generally, there are many ways in which lead can enter the human body as it has its presence in the basic requirements of human beings which are food, drinking water, soil and the air we breathe.
According to many scientists, children are at high risk of lead poisoning when compared to adults. They believe that this happens because they take up more lead from the environment they have been surrounded and at the same time their nervous system gets impacted. It is also noticed that lead also contaminates their blood. China is known as the largest manufacturer of electronic items in the world.
According to Chinese news media, the activities including recycling of e-waste have increased the level of lead in the blood of the children living in that region. In addition to this, in some areas, it has been reported that the local people are complaining of various health issues such as of skin problems, headaches and nausea, vertigo, gastric and ulcers. It is happening due to the increasing level of metals that are toxic. The toxic and contaminated metals are blending in the air, soil and in drinking water.
The table below provides some critical information about E-Waste:
|Origin of E-Waste||Component||Impact on Health|
|Soldering material in PCBs||Lead||harms the nervous system along with the blood and kidney systems also|
In children, it affects the brain and also impairs the kidney and circulatory systems
|Wires made up of copper and PCB tracks||Copper||Causes cramps in the stomach, nausea and damage to the liver|
|The motherboard used in computers||Beryllium||Carcinogenic i.e. causes lung cancer|
|Switches and Relays, PCBs||Mercury||Causes damage to the brain with time|
Causes problems regarding respiration and skin
|Resistors present in the chips and semiconductors||Cadmium||It gets deposited in the kidney as well as in the liver and also causes neural damage|
|Nickel-cadmium batteries||Nickel||Causes skin allergy that results in dermatitis and at the same time allergies in the lungs results in asthma|
|Lithium-ion Batteries||Lithium||It can be bad for breastfeeding mothers as lithium passes on to the feeding children and can harm the child|
If inhaled, it can cause lung edema
Effect of E-Waste on the Environment
The effect of electronic waste on the environment is unfortunately awful. Air pollution occurs when the e-waste is disposed of by melting which releases toxic contents into the air. It results in the inhalation of those toxic gases. As the air is polluted, it causes many diseases in humans also. Secondly, this e-waste also contaminates the soil. When the disposal of this electronic equipment is done in an informal way by dumping them illegally, then it contaminates the drinking water. The contaminated soil also pollutes the crops which are further consumed and cause illness.
Electronic items are in huge demand these days. People are buying and discarding these items at a very fast rate without giving a thought that these electronic equipment are as dangerous as plastic items for the environment as well as for our health. Therefore, consumers should also be responsible for using electronic items. In addition to this, the government should also provide awareness and all the safety gear to the employees working in this sector. Moreover, the government should implement policies regarding E-waste strictly as it will be a matter of huge concern in the coming years. Lastly, the citizens of our country should also take responsibility to adhere to the laws regarding e-waste.