These wastes contain toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium, barium, and mercury. E-wastes also contain metals such as iron, copper, silicon, aluminium, and gold, which are recoverable. They also contain carcinogens such as carbon black and heavy metals. Despite this, barely \(5 \%\) of all e-waste produced are recycled.
What are e-wastes?
Electronic wastes, often known as e-waste, are spoiled, outdated, and non-repairable electrical and electronic gadgets.
Sources of e-waste:
1. Electronic gadgets:
Computers, laptops, cellphones, printers, monitors, televisions, DVD players, calculators, toys, and sports equipment belong to this category.
2. Household electrical appliances:
Refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, mixers, grinders, water heaters are examples of e-waste generated from the household.
Old and damaged microwave oven
Printing cartridges, batteries, and chargers are examples of accessories.
|Computer components||\(66 \%\)|
|Telecommunication components||\(12 \%\)|
|Electronic components||\(5 \%\)|
|Biomedical components||\(7 \%\)|
|Other components||\(6 \%\)|
Environmental impact of e-wastes
Any type of electrical or electronic item that is disposed of without awareness can end up in a landfill or pollute water.
Electronic equipment contains a variety of hazardous heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, which can cause soil and groundwater pollution. E-waste dumping yards and the areas around them are contaminated and pose a serious health hazard.
Health effects of e-wastes
The health effects of various substances are displayed in a tabular column:
|Lead||Damages central and peripheral nervous system; affect brain development in children|
|Chromium||Causes asthmatic bronchitis|
|Cadmium||Accumulates in the kidneys and liver; causes neural damage|
Chronic damage to the brain and respiratory system
Plastics including Polyvinyl Chloride
Burning PVC produces dioxin, which can cause developmental and reproductive problems. It also damages the immune system.