E-Waste is The Impact of Technology Advance-                            ment                                              ...
No.        Category                                    Label         was focusing on the TV sets, washing machines, and ai...
for many hours a day and the residents are affected as well by       in the related field with new methods and procedures ...
[4] Widmer, R., Oswald-Krapf, H., Sinha-Khetriwal, D., Schnellmann, M., &      Böni, H. (2005). Global perspectives on E-W...
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E waste is the impact of technology advancement


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E-waste is becoming a crucial issue that so many are unaware of it. The issue is discussed and some issue surrounding it is discussed in Asian countries and some solution are provided.

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E waste is the impact of technology advancement

  1. 1. E-Waste is The Impact of Technology Advance- ment Taufiq H. Ghilan Al-Madhagy I.T Policy and Strategy STID6014, towfeeq2k5@yahoo.com School of Computing, CAS UUM, Sintok 06010. Malaysia serious to think of possible solutions that the technology has Abstract- brought to us. Around 500 million PCs contain approximately This article gives a definition of the E-Waste and its impact on 2,872,000 ton of plastics, 718,000 ton of lead, 1363 ton ofthe humans, environment, and countries. It also provides infor- cadmium and 287 ton of mercury (Puckett and Smith,mation of the impact on the international trade, and focuses on 2002)[1].Asian countries. Some procedures and policies are taking placein some Asian countries but still far away from applying proper An estimation by [2] shows that 130 million of mobileinternational convention that is known as WEEE. At the end, phones are out of life span in 2005 and other electronic devic-some recommendations are given to eliminate the E-Waste and es as well. These devices when burned or recycled in uncon-its impact. trolled way will cause hazard and toxicity which will add more waste and pollution that cannot be neglected. This pollu- tion is affecting not only the people, but also the water that we drink, the rain which became an acid-rain, the air that we I. INTRODUCTION breathe polluted by smoke and toxic gases, the atmosphere and the ozone gab which caused the global warming. There are different definitions for the E-Waste that wecould quote her so that we can go further to clarifies different The average age of PCs is between 4-6 years, that estima-facets of E-Waste and its problems. Here, we can give the tion worked during the nineties, and now it is almost 2 years“Electronic waste or E-Waste for short as a generic term em- [3]. This fast growing market indicates that more and morebracing various forms of electric and electronic equipment that electronic devices are manufactured, thus adding more E-have ceased to be of any value to their owners” [4]. Another Waste to the environment. Also, that indicates that the marketdefinition is by [5] that is “Any appliance using an electric of PCs is not saturated yet bringing more E-Waste.power supply that has reached its end-of-life.” Also one defi-nition is given by [6] E-Waste refers to “the reverse supply There is a Lack of a precise information or data of E-Wastechain which collects products no longer desired by a given because there is no definite standard for E-Waste that is usedconsumer and refurbishes for other consumers, recycles, or as a base-line to calculate the right figures. What is clear isotherwise processes wastes.” that most of data collected in the workshops hold were based on sales figures rather than accurate or official figures and it In general, it is observed that countries like India and China primarily based on the estimated sales and end-of-life estima-imports these wastes and created new business opportunities tion. Nonetheless, the rapid growth of the Asian countries ledfor their people. One is to recycle the waste and get raw mate- to more sales, and from that the figures of E-Waste were cal-rials from them; another is to have low cost products as se- culated. One thing to indicate is that we cannot measure thecondhand goods for the poor society. This poor category of difference between two countries due to differences in thethe society is not aware of the risks that lay under these prod- urban population and different items of E-Waste.ucts. Their main focus is to have some facility in life withcheaper prices regardless of any harm it may cause them. In the following table lists the things that are considered to be of E-Waste according to (WEEE), Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. II. E-WASTE GENERATION TABLE I WEEE categories according to the EU directive on WEEE (EU, 2002a) E-Waste is one of the major problems caused by the new No. Category Labeltechnology. This waste became a serious problem due to the 1. Large household appliances Large HHwaste and toxicity it brings to the environments. Plastics, lead, 2. Small household appliances Small HHcadmium, and mercury are considered to be a source of toxic 3. IT and telecommunications equipment ICTand pollution to the environment. They are the main waste that 4. Consumer equipment CEis contained in PCs, MP3 devices, PDAs, computer games, 5. Lighting equipment Lighting 6. Electrical and electronic tools (with the ex- E & E toolsand other peripherals. Let us take the following alarming fig- ception of large-scale stationary industrialures to dig deeply further into this problem and see how it is
  2. 2. No. Category Label was focusing on the TV sets, washing machines, and air con- tools) ditioners. In Korea they have similar law that also covers mo- 7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment Toys 8. Medical devices (with the exception of all Medical bile phones, computers and audio equipments. Taiwan had implanted and infected products) equipment followed the queue in the application of these measurements. 9. Monitoring and control instruments M&C In these two last mentioned countries, the producers have the 10. Automatic dispensers Dispensers responsibility of paying the recycling fees. In China, the E- It is worth mentioning that the E-Waste has toxic materials Waste controlling regulations are drafted. Many entities of theas well as valuable materials such gold, copper. government are forming different regulations but at the end In the past, the usage of gold was high that is around 4 they are still in draft phase.grams of gold for each processors, now it is reduced to be 1 Philippine also has some regulations but there is not a cleargram of gold [4]. This valuable row material is now becoming guide for managing the E-Waste. Other countries such as Ma-an important component of the high technological electronic laysia, Cambodia, and India do not have regulations for the E-components such as processors. Waste except batteries. The negative impact of technological equipment as a resultof the advancement of IT created many issues that should be IV. INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND E-WASTEfocused on. The effects of mercury, lead, cadmium and othertoxic materials can cause cancer, brain defects, and allergy There are some international regulations regulating theeffects to the respiratory systems in living-beings. All these movement of some waste that is crossing the boarders of thediseases are due to the exposure of these wastes or indirect countries. One is having a previous approval that should takeeffects that are reflected from plants or water that we drink. place between the importers and exporters of the industrial waste for example batteries, cables containing lead, and There are calls to overcome or at least to lessen the impact glasses coated by led. The Basel Convention is the interna-of these hazards and pollutant components by some measures, tional well-known regulations for the E-Waste and is appliedi.e. to add the price of the treatment of the E-Waste and the in EU voluntarily and they are committed to it. China and oth-disposal in prices. Another could be putting the responsibility er Asian countries do not have an obligation to comply withof the manufacturer of getting rid of these disposals and their this convention. Their interests will be affected as the E-Wasteresponsibility starting from the initial manufacturing to the generates a good business to them.disposal of the ended-life of the product. In China and India there is a new name for the trade of E- The recycling systems in all countries especially the indus- Waste under the trade of secondhand products. In these coun-trial and developing countries has developed as a market tries they are using the secondhand trade to bypass the regula-based activity. Take for example, in China and India it is an tions of WEEE in a wide scale. It is worth saying that there isactivity of many small to medium sized enterprises. In other no way to distinguish between the new products or the se-countries such as South Africa the government sector is re- condhand products as there is no separate code for the last.sponsible in these activities. In most cases, these countries are Some researchers tried to bring some figures as an estimationtrying to avoid the shortcomings of the recycling systems and of the E-Waste depending on the production figures that aretrying to improve and develop new methods and technologies. released from the governments in industrial sector. But it is still impossible to get the actual E-Waste clear figures. III. RECYCLING SYSTEMS IN ASIAN COUNTRIES The scrap is another shape of E-Waste which different countries treats it in different ways. It is classified as value and Many of the recycling activities reside in Asian countries. valueless resources. In Japan, it is treated domestically andThese countries has developed a lot in the industrial sector and disposal facilities do exist with high technology implementedbecame the main manufacturers of the most of the products to handle this E-Waste. The E-Waste in Korea, on the otherespecially the electrical and electronic devices, appliances, hand, is treated in different way. The scrap is allowed to beand electronic components that comprise these products. Re- exported and to be treated overseas.cycling became a business of these countries in which thesecountries can get the raw materials from these recycled prod-ucts or as being as a recycling bin for the US and Europeanindustries countries. V. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS The need for laws and regulations was a result of the in- Open burning for cables may create persistent organic pol-creasing activities of such trade. Therefore, these countries lutants (POPs) that may cause health effects and harm thetried to develop some regulations and laws to organize this body and the skin. Many workers who are in facilities withkind of business and to protect the environment as a conse- low-cost techniques are exposed to these pollutants and thusquence of the environmental Non-government Agencies. Take diseases of skin, stomach and other organs of their bodies canfor example the law of home appliances recycling in Japan be noticed clearly. Landfill areas affect the workers who work
  3. 3. for many hours a day and the residents are affected as well by in the related field with new methods and procedures to elimi-inhaling the dust that is spread in the air. nate the E-Waste. In China recycling is happening at a large scale. Most of Some countries in Europe have implemented good strate-the recyclers using primitive methods are working together in gies in resolving the E-Waste in their countries. They havereserved areas or recycling parks, though the machines are established in each neighborhood drop-centers to put the wastenow increasingly used. of different kinds. These reserved areas have different con- tainers to keep different wastes, i.e. one for the glass, one for Waste products that flow among countries are not easy to the papers, and one for the plastics. They also enforced aware-predict the exact figures with almost lack of proofed informa- ness among the people in the media, guiding signs, and attion either officially or in indirect ways. On the other hand schools. They also encouraged the buy-back approach whichthese flows of waste products gain the popularity in the recent companies like Nokia is now implementing as part of theirdecade. Recycling is always combined with the emissions of sales promotions. In a country like Japan, they provide fund-toxic gases and causes hazards to the environment. These ha- ing for the recycling which is called Advance Recycling Fees,zards waste needs careful attention if it is treated inside or ARF. These procedures can provide the reduction of E-Waste.outside a country. If the international community establishes an international China is importing waste products that contain harmful sub- repository of effective measures and methods to handle andstances which in turn will cause environmental hazards and manage the E-Waste, this will be of great advantage to utilizepoison. On the other hand, Japan is trying to be stricter in laws the expertise from all over the globe. In this way, I think, thefor the recycling of the end-of-life products and it lays the international community and the public will take into consid-responsibility for getting rid of these wastes on the producers eration the danger of this growing issue.themselves. In some countries, the government supports theefforts to send the end-of-life products from the consumers to There should be an international policy to be developed tothe waste facilities. A good example of that is Japan so the include different procedures and measures as well as guidedresponsibility and the cost of recycling are very low in Japan. steps to help in reducing the E-Waste. This policy has to beOn the other hand, in Korea the consumer has to pay his share approved and ratified by all industrial and consumer countriesto help in the disposal of the waste. in an internal conference to avoid risks and develop a system that is suitable for the producer and the consumer. An example of the application of laws in Japan made itpossible to reduce the emissions of heavy metals to the envi-ronment. That is a result of strong governments focusing on VII. CONCLUSIONSenvironmental issues. The life cycle of products starting from the production phase, then delivery and consumption phasing, and ending with the recycling and treatment phase of the E-Waste created VI. RECOMMENDATIONS an increasingly demand to find proper solution to this crucial issue. The outcomes of these goods produced and manufac- The E-Waste is becoming a fact that no one can t it or neg- tured are the toxic and valuable substances.lect its impact on the individual, the environment, or the at-mosphere. There are some recommendations that can help to There are many calls and attempts to produce regulationreduce the impact at least if not eliminating it. and laws to solve the impact of manufactured products and goods and to ban the import of these E-Waste products. The It is observed that the low-skilled labor are the category controlled treatment methods to avoid such hazardous for hu-who are using the cheap methods for recycling, so the proper man and the environment are also of concern in the developedtraining is a good approach to help in using a clean technolo- countries especially the European Union countries. Thesegy. The industrial sector also through governments and non- countries are trying to make strict regulations on the productgovernment organizations can provide consultancy and sup- imported and emphasize that they are at the end-of-life re-port to recycle the different components that comprises the E- cycled.Waste such as metal, glass, and plastic. REFERENCES The government through local municipalities can do a lot to [1] Puckett J, Smith T. Exporting harm: the high-tech trashing of Asia Thehelp in reducing the E-Waste. It can encourage the municipali- Basel Action Network. Seattle7 Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; 2002.ties to apply the laws and regulations for handling the E-Waste [2]O’Connell Kim A. Computing the damage, waste Age;throw advice, exposure, and pilot testing management 2002.http://www.wasteage.com/ar/waste_computing_damage/schemes. The municipalities are the entities responsible in [3] Culver J. The life cycle of a CPU; 2005.http://www.cpushack.net/life- cycle-of-cpu.html.each city for getting rid of this waste. It is wise even to estab-lish programs from the governments to train the staff working
  4. 4. [4] Widmer, R., Oswald-Krapf, H., Sinha-Khetriwal, D., Schnellmann, M., & Böni, H. (2005). Global perspectives on E-Waste. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 25(5), 436-458.[5] OECD. Extended producer responsibility: a guidance manual for govern- ments. Paris7 OECD; 2001.[6] StEP. Solving the E-Waste problem: a synthetic approach (StEP), Draft Project Document; 2005. http://step.ewaste.ch.