In our world today, most of our lives rely on electronics.
Lets count how many electronics a typical American uses in one day. There is a cellphone, a tv, a tv remote, a laptop or computer, a radio, an MP3 player, batteries, a camera, a scanner, and a home phone. That brings to a total of ten electronic devices; and thats only the necessities, there are obviously much more that people use throughout their day.
Now we use these things because they ease our daily lives, but when its time to replace them, we simply throw them away because we are naive about the consequences that arise from this issue. This is now called “E-waste”. In recent scientific studies, the Environmental Protection Agency proclaimed that an average of 4.6 million tonnes of e-waste end up in landfills every year. Having a grave affect on the communities and the environment around the landfill, due to the toxic chemicals that leach into the ground and contaminate it.
So what can we do? Simply do what we learned to do with our plastics, bottle, and cans. Recycle!
Unlike all other recycling we do in the United States, recycling of electronics is dangerous and harmfull both for the workers and the environment. This is also due to the chemicals within the devices.
So what else can we do? America being the “great” country that is, along with other European countries, thought it would be best to export all this e-waste to poorer, developing countries. Mainly to the Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, India, and China. The issue with this is that although there are laws we must abide by, we still export about 47% of our e-waste illegally. Causing the same harmful affects we have with recycling here in the United States, but only worse. Here when these workers with the scrap e-wast becoming intoxicated with the toxic chemicals, they have hospitals and medical treatments to help them. However, in these developing countries, most of the workers on these scrap e-waste yards, are working because they are laking money to provide for themselves or their families. Therefore, cannot provide for medical assistance when they are contaminated by these toxic chemicals. Looking at China and India alone, we can see the dangerous amounts of e-waste sent out to these countries and how it can be hazardous.
Now this is only some of the countries that receive this modern poison that resulted from our overuse of electrons.
Now people might say well what can we do? If we cannot throw it away, recycle it, or export it, there is nothing we can do with it?
Well the number one action that most of us americans can carry out is to insure our limitations on electronics. This doesn’t mean we need to cut them out of lives, because that would be horrible. But do we really need the new iPhone that comes out every year? Resulting our disposal of phones each year. I have had the same phone for the past 3 years, yes it might be outdated, but it still works. Once I need to dispose of it, I will, like most of us should, take it to SAFE and LEGAL disposal companies that would recycle them in the correct manner, rather than just exporting it. This is the second step we must do in order to ensure not harming our environment or other’s environment. Such as the electronicrecyclers, or you can simply find a recycler by visiting E-cycling Central.
These are steps that we can take to ensure sustainability now; however, in our futures we must take further steps. Some of us young population of American are bound to go into politics and eventually make decisions on behalf of our country. The best way to insure this problem of exporting e-waste doesn’t occur in our future is to be educated of its hazards. So do research, read other blogs, so maybe one day if your in charge of where our E-waste goes, you will make the right decision, and make sure sights like the ones below doesn’t reoccur. To further understand the issues with e-waste problem, visite this blog, it gives great detail and more information.
Think about it, if this were your home, will you be able to survive?