Changing the direction of the prevailing linear ‘take, make and dispose of’ model.
There is a growing problem with plastic and electronic waste. Cities and countries worldwide face the challenge of managing the rising levels of these wastes. By 2030, as per estimate, more than 25 billion tons of e-waste will be produced. The United Nations calls it the ‘tsunami of e-waste’. In addition to its environmental impact, it also creates a social problem. Workers in developing countries often burn these materials, creating untold pollution.
The issue of plastic pollution is especially problematic in areas with poor waste management practices. Countries like Vietnam have based their economic activities on the ‘take, make, dispose of’ model. However, the government has recently announced a new decree mandating that all trash be separated.
In Vietnam, 85 per cent of the nation’s waste is buries in landfills. Interestingly, the Ciliwung River basin in Java produces 75% less plastic than the European Rhine river basin. According to the study, the Southern oceans accumulate plastics at a rate of about the same magnitude as the Northern Hemisphere. Consequently, if the Ciliwung basin were to generate enough plastic to equal that of the Rhine, more than 100 times more plastic would enter the ocean yearly.
The plastic accumulating in the Southern oceans surprises the authors of the study. Despite the lack of coastal populations in the region, plastics are in the sea. Because of this, the pollution could be moving between oceanic gyres.
For the resolution of this problem, a circular economy strategy needs to develop. The procedure typically involves partnering with companies that best utilize the materials recovered from the production process. If we can use these materials again, there will be less demand for virgin materials, and thus a reduction in the amount of pollution created.
Creating a circular economy involves several policies and incentives. These include the creation of a supply chain with minimal waste and increased collection and analysis of solid waste data.
Legal frameworks for tackling e-waste
E-waste is a hugely complex resource and a significant environmental threat. It is on a global level, and its disposal is done by an informal sector, mostly in developing countries. Most of the electronic-waste generated worldwide is either dumped, illicitly traded, or otherwise handled in a non-sustainable manner. There is a need for improved management of this waste. This paper explores the various legal frameworks available to address e-waste issues.
To adequately address e-waste, a comprehensive framework is needed. The proper framework should include the following:
- A sound legal framework.
- The ability to ensure appropriate dismantling and recycling of damaged electronic devices.
- Support for the informal sector.
The Basel Convention has emerged as the central legal infrastructure for transnational e-waste trade. However, the legal regime surrounding the e-waste industry has many loopholes. Some countries have yet to ratify the Basel Convention, and others have approved but have yet to confirm the E-waste Export Ban.
What Till Done
The paper examines the legal frameworks in China, the US, and Europe and the impact these have on exports of e-waste to China. This paper aims to systematically analyze the multi-scalar legal frameworks and the rationales behind them. The report draws heavily on policy documents, technical guidelines, and local policy practices, including Guiyu’s implementation of the e-waste regulatory framework.
Despite the global importance of e-waste, the electronics industry has increased dramatically recently; the public has rarely associated this industry with environmental pollution. Achieving sustainable management of e-waste requires science, technological innovation and a commitment to sustainability principles.
A significant contribution to global e-waste management initiatives was the “Letter of Intent” signing in 2012. Countries agreed to reduce the negative environmental impacts of electronic waste by recycling hazardous materials and second-hand recycling electronics. Developing countries, particularly Africa, face significant challenges when addressing e-waste.
Although the United States, China, and Europe each produce large volumes of e-waste, Europe still ranks first in the whole e-waste generation. In Asia, the average generator of e-waste per inhabitant was 4.2 kg/inh. African countries generate only 1.9 kg/inh. These statistics highlight the importance of a legal framework, a firm policy, and effective technology to address this growing global issue.
Also check- Best Guest Blogging Website
As with all international environmental laws and regulations, a formal and robust legal framework for e-waste is necessary. However, developing countries get excluded from the process of innovation policymaking.
Therefore, there is a need for a new, practical innovation policy framework that will help developing countries tackle e-waste effectively and sustainably. Several national and international initiatives are in place. Achieving this is a long-term challenge.
Impacts on children
Children are at a higher risk of exposure to harmful chemicals in e-waste. While there is a growing body of evidence linking e-waste and child health, there still needs to be more clarity about the extent of the problem. Several ongoing collaborative efforts are working to identify the issues.
The informal sector is often responsible for e-waste processing. These people pick through e-waste and scavenge from landfills. They use several methods to remove valuable materials, including acid baths. Children shouldn’t get exposed to these hazardous substances.
Exposure to arsenic is associated with an elevated risk of diseases later in life. Lead and mercury are known neurotoxins associated with reduced IQ and behavioural problems in children. There is also a link between PFOA prenatal exposure and lower physical development in children. This chemical is commonly present in firefighting foam, stain-resistant coating, and water-repellent chemicals. In addition, exposure to these toxicants can get the link to various lung and respiratory infections.
Children are particularly vulnerable to these hazardous chemicals because they breathe more air than adults. Some children may also be at risk due to contaminated food, water, or dust. Even newborns can get exposed to toxicants from contaminated soil or dust.
The World Health Organization has compiled existing research on e-waste and child health. This report includes several case studies that illustrate the health effects of e-waste on different groups of people. Despite the risks, some children are willing to take low-paying jobs because they see them as a way to help their families. However, more decisive actions will help reduce e-waste.
Children are at greater risk of exposure to toxicants when involved in e-waste recycling activities. E-waste particulates are high in toxic metals and organic pollutants. They can aggravate respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular disease. Often, the parts of e-waste get mixed with other hazardous materials, which increases the risks.
Children may also be at increased risk from the toxins released during informal e-waste recycling. These hazardous chemicals are especially harmful to children because they cannot break down effectively. Many of these chemicals are a carcinogen. Moreover, they can have a risk of various types of diseases, such as cancer, endocrine disorders, and neurological impairment.
Steps Taken For Child Safety
Several WHO pilot projects are currently examining the potential health impacts of e-waste. These projects develop frameworks for protecting children’s health from e-waste. A number of these frameworks need to have adhered to in different countries.
Until there is more information about the health impacts of e-waste, it is essential to prevent children from being exposed. Various interventions are currently carrying out to reduce contaminants in schools. For reducing the e waste one sell old phone online or other electronics items online. So those can be used by other needy people