“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”
– Annie Leonard
E-waste includes all your favourite gadgets. However useful they are while functioning, towards the end of their “useful” life, they are threatening majorly because of the danger they pose on the environment! India faces a danger of double intensity owing to the e-waste it receives from developed countries (green passport). What makes the situation all the more worse is an already thriving infrastructure and waste disposal crisis in the country.
Why is the e-waste harmful at first place and what are its impact on the environment?
1. Massive accumulation of toxic substances
The e-waste contains bio accumulative toxins as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Lithium, Barium etc. which can make you prone to many disorders involving complex systems as genitourinary, nervous. An average computer screen is anticipated to five to eight pounds of lead. Lead and other heavy metals are known carcinogens.
2. Ground water is at a risk
Dismantling of substances as cathode ray tubes causes the release of heavy metals in the ground water, making it highly toxic and unsafe for consumption. Over accumulation of these toxic substances in the body can cause toxicity or poisoning.
3. So are your lungs
Air pollution is one of the most common harmful effects of e-waste disposal. Desoldering of computer chips for instance causes discharge of Tin, Lead and eventual inhalation of these potential carcinogens, causing an extensive form of air pollution.
4. Death of flora and fauna
Gold- plated compounds release hydrocarbons which are directly discharged into rivers banks. This acidifies river water, eventually resulting in the death of flora and fauna on the aquatic environment. The fact that already almost all rivers in India are facing a phenomenal level of pollution shows how far the problem stretches.
5. The soil is not spared either
Heavy metals become a part of the soil-crop food pathway. Since these metals are non-biodegradable, they keep accumulating and increasing in quantity on every strata of the environment and pose threat to life on each of these levels of the chain.
Although there are many organisations which claim to be working on the global problem of e-waste both nationally and internationally, there has not been much benefit that seems to be getting derived as the e- wastes are only taking a toll on the environment.
If at this point, we do not choose to save our environment and adopt methods through which we abstain from polluting the environment, we might end up in a situation where the effect could be no more reversed because every gadget we use is a potential threat to the environment.
“You cannot get through the day without making an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”