Cause for concern as e-waste mounts in developing nations
UN warns that increasing sales of electronic products could pose serious problems for the environment
Developing countries like India, South Africa, Morocco and China need to prepare for mounting e-waste or face serious consequences for the environment and public health, a new United Nations Environment Programme report warns.
There's about 40 million tons of e-waste being generated around the world in a year, the report states, with UN experts warning that action needs to be stepped up to properly collect and recycle materials as sales of electronic products in developing countries are set to rise sharply in the next 10 years.
The report used data from eleven representative developing countries to estimate current and future e-waste, which includes desk and laptop computers, printers, mobile phones, pagers, digital photo and music devices, refrigerators, toys and televisions.
Morocco, the only Middle Eastern country analysed for the report, is said to throw away 13,500 metric tons of PCs and 15,100 metric tons of TV e-waste in a year.
In South Africa and China for example, the report predicts that by 2020 e-waste from old computers will have jumped by 200 to 400% from 2007 levels, and by 500% in India. By that same year in China, e-waste from discarded mobile phones will be about 7 times higher than 2007 levels and, in India, 18 times higher.
China already produces about 2.3 million tonnes (2010 estimate) domestically, second only to the United States with about 3 million tonnes.