Rapid expansion of technology means that a very large amount of e-waste is created at every minute. As a result, mountains of e-waste have become a threat to public health and environment globally.
Precious and hazardous materials are used to make electronic gadgets. Now e-waste has the potential to become big business.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), recycling of valuable elements in e-waste, such as copper and gold, has become a source of income mostly in the informal sector of developing or emerging industrialised countries. However, primitive recycling techniques such as burning cables for retaining the inherent copper expose both adult and child workers as well as their families to a range of hazardous substances. E-waste-connected health risks may result from direct contact with harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, chromium, brominated flame retardants or polychlorinated biphenyls, from inhalation of toxic fumes, as well as from accumulation of chemicals in soil, water and food.
The UN Report says that urgent action is needed to tackle the "mountains" of e-waste building up in developing nations. Huge amounts of old computers and discarded electronic goods are piling up in countries such as China, India and some developing nations increasing risks for health hazards and threat to environment, the report mentions.
Some nations are happy to take in e-waste in order to extract some of the precious materials and metals that go into making modern consumer electronics. Developing economies like Bangladesh can consider selling e-waste to countries that will purchase our e-waste.
Md Zillur Rahaman
Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited
Lalmohan Branch, Bhola
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