A UN study has suggested that the increased dumping of waste computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment poses a serious threat to our health and environment in the future.
The study suggests that the World needs to do more to ensure that more electronic waste is collected for recycling rather than going to landfill. It warns that the amount of e-waste being produced could rise by as much as 500 per cent over the next decade. The main concern is that much of this waste contains toxic material as it decays and therefore could cause substantial problems in the future.
Guido Sonnermann, programme officer for Unep says: “This is a global question. This problem is not going away, it’s growing.”
The problem is particularly acute in countries like Africa, China and India but it is not a problem that Europe can ignore. Ruediger Kuehr of the United Nations University says: “There’s still a high growth rate in developed countries. It’s an increasing, growing and pressing problem everywhere, including Europe. The collection rates are simply too little.”
The UN wants to see more support for communities in what it terms “informal” collection facilities and it wants to see better enforcement of recycling and anti-dumping laws.
Peter Hunt, managing director of WeeeCare says:
“We have the facilities to recycle electronic waste, we have to make recycling as easy as possible for the public. More needs to be done to make the public aware that these services are available.”