Electronic waste or e-waste portrays unwanted electrical or electronic devices. Expended electronics which are intended for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal are also counted as e-waste.
It is sort of bad news that this issue is not getting attention by policymakers, industry and consumers as well because people like you and me are still not certain about disposing of old computers, smartphones or any other electronic devices. Unavailability of convenient recycling options almost 75 percent of old electronics remains to be stored in lumber room.
These electronic devices, also identifies as e- waste or e- scrape, including items like old computer equipment, stereos, televisions and mobile phones. While recycling e-waste only 10-15 percent of the gold is successfully obtained and rest is vanished. E-waste holds sediments of precious metals and these sediments are 40-50 times richer than ores which are mined from the earth. On the other hand, these devices also contain a large amount of poisonous substances including lead, mercury, chromium which needs to be recycled properly and proper processing needs to be ensure that these harmful materials are not released directly to the environment.
Embryonic approaches to recycling in countries have resulted in health risks to local people exposed to the release of toxins continues to an issue of concern. Rapid increase in the technology many people are replacing mobile phones and computers. Because of this, the generation of electronic waste, or e-waste, is growing rapidly.
Developed countries in order to get rid of these un wanted materials sends a shipment every year to developing countries including Pakistan contains heaps of equipment for the purpose of disposing and recycling.
Many people in Karachi are involved in the e-waste industry many of them are children. Lyari area in Karachi is known as hub of e-waste industry which receives e-waste from all over the Europe. E-waste burning alongside the river and toxin materials are seeped into the river turning into black. Even a low level of exposure of children and pregnant woman to lead, mercury, cadmium and any other heavy material will be reason the severe neurological damage. Children who pick up the stuff from e-waste sites are the victims of deadly diseases.
Dr. Zaigham Abbas technical officer of Ministry of Climate Change Pakistan admits at WEEE workshop in Osaka that Pakistan lacks proper systems to manage E-waste at the national level and that very small amount of funding has been applied to research and development of suitable recycling technologies. He stresses that government of Pakistan has not paid sufficient attention to this issue, government should have inventory record of e-waste.
Presence of heavy metals, Persistent Organic Pollutant (POPs), and other hazardous substances in e-waste is the main risk to human health and the environment.
Four billion Dollars loss is faced by Pakistan’s economy every year because of environmental degradation. Nation has to face a lot of problem because there is lack of seriousness from government. Sorrowfully, in our country decision are made until problem hits us on the face or once the damage is done. For the safe handling and disposal of e-waste in Pakistan, there is a dire need to implement laws. Recycling businesses are facilitated by government. Pakistan could generate millions if such initiatives are taken, and more importantly it will create jobs for the thousands of people while achieving the core target of lowering the health and environmental risks.