Dangerous amount of tech waste poses health threats
Your computer is a major part of your life. You might use it for your job or recreational use, but as technology advances you may find yourself with an outdated machine.
So where do your old computers go? Technological waste is becoming a major problem and creating a toxic waste epidemic, experts say.
New research presented in the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management finds that recycling and disposing of computers, notebooks and other technological devices is a growing threat to health.
Neelu Jain of the PEC University in Technology, and Pamela Chawla of the Surya World, Surya World Technical Campus in Punjab, India, says that they estimate about 130 million desktop computers and 900 million notebook computers will be outdated by 2025.
That said, they say new and more efficient ways to recycle these devices are needed immediately. “These results will help waste management authorities in planning appropriate infrastructure and facilities for handling, recycling and disposal of this hazardous waste,” research team says.
The researchers say that these devices are hazardous especially when disposed in landfills. “This analysis does not address distribution of obsolete computers for reuse, recycling and landfill options nor their storage time, which is an important issue to resolve in the future,” research team says.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each household contains about 24 electronic devices. One to two percent of the U.S.’s solid waste is from computers and other electronics. Although this may seem like a small portion of solid waste, the EPA also predicts the rapid growth of e-waste across the globe.
The EPA also includes that solid waste is not the only issue accompanying technological advances. The energy and scarce materials that are needed for manufacturing are also environmentally un-friendly.
The toxic elements include lead, mercury and a variety of plastics and polymers. The study suggests a need to find a solution as it could be detrimental to human health and also the environment.
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