In the past years, the increasing amount of e-waste has been stuck. Every year, the e-waste generated by different regions can reach 20,000,000 to 50,000,000 tons. Now its amount accounts for over 5% of the global municipal solid waste. More than that, e-waste also does great harm to human’s body. Not only do the developed countries make large amounts of e-waste, the Asian countries each year also discard about 12,000,000 tons of electronic waste. Different countries and regions have great difference in processing e-waste because of various factors.
Domestic Practice for E-waste
Although e-waste contains a lot of toxic heavy metals and chemical substances and will make threat to environment and human, at present,domestic practice is burying or burning it as the common urban garbage. But, in fact, because of lack of concerned laws and with the increasing amount of internal e-waste, the vast majority of e-wastes are being purchased by illegal traders. After purchasing, they transport these e-wastes to the remote towns like Guiyu to recycle the metal and other valuable parts from these wastes, totally not considering the toxic material’s effect on local environment and the worker’s health.
Developed Countries’ Disposal Way
According to the estimate of USEPA, only in 2000, over 4.6 million e-waste are taken to dumping area. Because of the great damage of this way, many European has prohibit it. But there are still many countries and regions which don’t care about the effect on environment and human at all. For example, in Hongkong, about 10-20% of the e-waste is dumped.
Reuse is a good way to lengthen the life of electronic products, therefore a large quantity of e-wastes have been shipped to the developing country. Although the benefit of reusing is obvious, it really brings many problems too. After being used temporarily, these e-wasted are discarded again and dumped.
Recycle and Reproduction
Besides the toxic materials, e-waste also contains many recyclable materials. In developed countries, e-waste is dismantled in professional factory with corresponding supervision measures. But in developing countries, there are no such measures. Take cable recycling for example. Many recyclers purchase copper cable granulator to process while in many developing countries, they do it by hands.
Although it is against Basel Convention, e-waste stream often flows from the developed countries to the developing countries. Only in UK, at least 23,000 tons e-waste was shipped to Africa, India and China without declaration or through gray market in 2003. Although Our country has forbidden this import in 2000, it didn’t really play its role. The trade of e-waste in India from the developed countries is also increasing.
E-waste is a world problem. None of the countries should pursue its own profit to sacrifice the environment and common people’s health. We should work together to improve this situation.