Electronic Waste, also known as E-Waste, is the components that comprise an electrical or electronic product when it is being discarded. These electronics could be Computers, Televisions, Stereos, Cell Phones, and other electronic products. These components are recycled, resold or reused. E-waste contains harmful and toxic chemicals like lead, beryllium, mercury, cadmium, and bromine that threatens the health of workers and environment itself. Those who work on E-Waste are paid as little as three US dollars per day. The disposal of e-waste is continuously increasing as technological advancements release new and improved units. In the case of the United States, a lot of e-waste or discarded units like computers are either stored, recycled or exported to other developing countries particularly in Asian countries. This paper shows how e-waste affects the environment and also the workers as a whole in the case of China. It also presents the brighter side of upgrading e-waste.Jim Puckett (2002) defines electronic waste or e-waste as the increasing scope of electronic devices ranging from huge appliances in different households such as refrigerators, air conditioners, cell phones, stereos, and computers. When discarded computers vanish from homes, schools, and offices around the world, they often end up in Guiyu, which may be the electronic-waste capital of the globe (Johnson, 2006).
[...] Puckett (2002) discusses that e-waste is produced by three major sectors in the United States. The first major sector involves individuals and businesses. The second major sector involves large businesses, institutions, and governments. The third sector involves original equipment manufacturers. For the first sector, the equipments most frequently disposed by households and businesses are computers. The primary reason for this is not because of damages or worn-outs but because of new technologies that leave these products outdated or unwanted. For example, new operating systems and software applications emerging today require more RAM or faster processor so users with units that cannot be upgraded are forced to buy new systems. [...]
[...] E-waste disposal is at a rate that is very alarming. While some go to landfills and incinerators, others are transported and recycled. Puckett (2002) cites several avenues where e-waste is sent. To storage facilities, landfill and incineration centers, re-use, domestic recycling, prisons, and exported to developing countries (Puckett Exporting Harm, 2002). According to US researchers, an estimated number of three-quarters of all computers sold in the United States are stocked in households and office stock rooms waiting for disposal. Other research studies show that the number of unused computers can reach from 315 to as high as 680 million units. [...]
[...] E-waste: Whose problem is it? Communications News, 36-36. Retrieved October from GreenFILE database Greenpeace International. (2008). Where does all the e-waste go? Retrieved on October from http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/e-waste-toxic- not-in-our-backyard Hessler, Wendy, Mitchelmore, L,Carys. (2008). E-waste chemicals change workers DNA. Retrieved on October from http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/e-waste-chemicals- change-workers-dna 6. Johnson, Tim. (2006). E-waste dump of the world. The Seattle Times http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002920133_ewaste09.html 7. Mines & Communities. [...]
[...] The highly elevated levels of the DNA damage biomarker seen in workers after their work shifts demonstrates that the E-waste causes oxidative stress and resultant DNA damage” (Hessler, Mitchelmore, E-Waste Chemicals Change Workers DNA. 2008). The problems of e-waste disposal in the US have posed threats in the developing countries especially in Asian countries like China. With the constant releases of new computers, gadgets and other units at decreasing prices, more and more e-wastes will be discarded into unhealthy environments. [...]
[...] More-likely these workers including those who are around it will suffer the consequences brought by the severe exposures to e-waste (Puckett Exporting Harm, 2002). According to Greenpeace, e-waste is often labeled as “Used or “Mixed Metals” which are smuggled from Hong Kong (Chisholm and Bu, China's e-waste capital chokes on old computers 2007). Environment International concludes in their research study on PCBs that the major cause of PCB existence in the environment in Guiyu, China is the e-waste. They added that PCBs generated from e-waste recycling results in the increase of high chlorinated biphenyls in people of Guiyu (Xing, Environment International 2008). [...]
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