Nowadays a world without electronic devices is unthinkable. We use them in every part in our daily routine. Electronic device helps us to wake up in the morning, brush our teeth, make our coffee and even read the newspaper. Each of us uses these devices, but no one thinks about their production or disposal after. Such thoughtlessness provides a general problem in our society. Electronic devices have a shorter product life cycle than in the past. Their numbers increased rapidly worldwide.
But what happens with them when we throw them away? All too often our disused electronical equipment go to the global landfills where toxins pollute the environment and valuable commodities such as gold, silver or indium are buried unused. The consequences for humans and nature are devastating. In order to gain benefits form the e-Waste, it can be recycled. However, this leads us to another problem. Some industrialized countries, including the U. S. , Europe and Australia, export their electronic waste preferably in emerging and developing countries.
It is estimated that 50 to 80 % of the electronic waste is exported form developed countries. There substances are removed from the electronic waste with simplest means (fire, hammer, acid bath, etc. ). This is a heavy strain on people and the environment. Already children are exposed to toxic substances. Diseases are often the result. On the other side the waste forms the livelihood for many people. For example in Ghana, 41 tons of electronic waste going to be handled. For thousands of people in the poorest countries in the world, this is the only way to earn a little money.
Often it is the only was not to enter into prostitution or drug dealing for many people. The reasons for the high volume of e-Waste are varied. Neither often there are no replacement parts for defective equipment, so they cannot be repaired. Or in many cases it is cheaper to by a new device, than to repair an old one. Devices also often aged premature. This is provided by the manufacturer and should also lead to higher consumption. It is hard to find a mobile phone that does more than three years without problems. Another thing is that the design, functionality and trends are changing very fast.
We want to have always the newest mobile Phone, Computer and Tablet. With an outdated device you will often be ridiculed. One way to solve the e-Waste Problem would be to make it attractive or possible to consumers to let old device repair. Produces should ensure that their products work a long time. That could lead to a reduction of electronic Waste. But it would also help to change our buying behaviour. Is it really necessary to have the newest mobile Phone, computer or tablet? However, e-Waste is not completely avoidable. So it is also important to find strategies for the recycling of e-Waste.
The parts that can be reused should be extracted from the e-Waste. It must give strict guidelines to protect workers from toxic substances. In my opinion it is up to us to solve this problem. We are responsible for the e-Waste and we should also take care of it. First, it is important to make the issue known globally. Many people are not aware of the problem. It should already be taken care on sustainable manufacturing when buying products. But most of all new devices should not be bought as long as the old ones can still be repaired. And the newest iPhone is not the most important thing in the world.