The harmful effects of electronic waste

electronic waste

The harmful effects of electronic waste

To stay operational and relevant in their respective markets, the majority of businesses today rely on electronics. Electronic needs are growing in tandem with the demands of the business. Companies are always on the lookout for the newest, fastest, and smartest technologies to help them manage their hectic day-to-day operations.

As technology continues to advance, it becomes necessary to recycle outdated devices in order to reduce waste in landfills and avoid contamination. Are these electronic waste (e-waste) well recycled and disposed of?

When you see pictures of old televisions and laptops in landfills, all you see is their supposedly harmless surface. What makes electronic waste so deadly is that you can’t see the danger.

Mercury, beryllium, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and brominated flame retardants are just a few of the dangerous compounds that can be found inside electronic products.

The consequences of improper e-waste disposal in landfills or other non-dumping sites pose serious threats to current public health and can pollute ecosystems for generations to come.

Dangers of electronic waste 

When electronic waste is disposed of illegally by dismantling, shredding, or melting the components, dust particles or toxic chemicals, such as dioxins, are released into the environment, causing air pollution and damage to human respiratory organs.

Burning is another method commonly used to dispose of low-value electronic waste. However, it can also be used to extract valuable metals from electronics, such as copper.

Burning electronic waste increases the risk of chronic diseases and malignancies because it releases small particles that can travel thousands of miles, posing severe health concerns to humans and animals.

Furthermore, hydrocarbon released by electronic waste has the potential to contribute to the greenhouse gas ( GHG) effect which is also part of the cause of climate change.

In some parts of developing countries, many pickers sift through landfills to get electronic waste, which they sell to recyclers. However, some of these persons burn the undesired portions such as wires to extract copper and this is huge air pollution.

These poisons drain into the soil causing adverse effects on the plants and trees that grow around the area.
As a result, these chemicals can infiltrate the human food chain, causing birth abnormalities and a variety of other health problems.

Toxins are released into groundwater when electronic waste is not properly disposed of by residents or businesses. Many surface streams, rivers, and lakes are based on groundwater. Many creatures rely on these water systems for survival.

When water bodies are compromised by toxins from e-waste, they endanger the marine ecosystem, putting their future and survival in jeopardy. Humans that rely on this water may be affected by electronic waste.

As explained, electronic waste has a severe influence on soil, water, and air quality, which can be disastrous to the ecosystem.

All of these things are important for a healthy planet and its inhabitants. As such, it is important to be mindful of how we dispose of these technologies once they have served their purpose.

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