Economy, Sci & Tech

Toxic E-Waste Dumping a Growing Concern

Toxic E-Waste Dumping a Growing ConcernToxic E-Waste Dumping a Growing Concern

Electronic waste is rising sharply across Asia as higher incomes allow hundreds of millions of people to buy smartphones and other gadgets.

So-called e-waste in Asia has jumped 63% in five years, the report by the United Nations University said, AFP reports.

For many years, China and some other parts of Asia have been a dumping ground for discarded electronics from the developed world.

But the report said that in recent years, Asia has rapidly emerged as a major source of electronic waste.

China more than doubled its own generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015, the period of the study, according to the report.

Per capita the worst-offending economy in the region was Hong Kong, with each person in the Chinese territory generating an average of 21.7 kilograms (47.8 pounds) of e-waste in 2015.

Singapore and Taiwan were also big e-waste dumpers, with just over 19 kilograms per person generated in 2015, according to the study.

Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines were among the lowest e-waste generators with an average of about one kilogram for each person.

Meanwhile, improper and illegal e-waste dumping means increased exposure to extremely toxic chemicals, leading to severe health and environment consequences.

Acids that are used to separate the metals in the electronic products are a particular concern, with inhalation or exposure to them causing serious health problems.

In the Chinese town of Guiyu, which built its economy on recycling waste from overseas, heavy metal contamination has turned the air and water toxic, according to a 2014 study by researchers at Shantou University Medical College.

Children in the town also had high lead levels in their blood, the university study found.


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