Electronic Waste Essay

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Electronic waste otherwise known as e-waste is increasingly becoming a major source of pollution worldwide. E-waste consists electronic components which can be found in devices such as cellular phones, computers, TV’s and various small and large household appliances that have reached their end of life and are no longer useful. These items contain small amounts of pollutants in the form of heavy metals such as Gold (Ag), Silver (Ag), Cadmium (Cd), Mercury (Hg), and Lead (Pb) (Huang et al.,
2013) to name but a few. However in large enough quantities these small amounts of pollutants add up and can become an environmental problem. In 2014, 41.8 metric tonnes of e-waste was created globally (Debnath, Roychoudhuri and Ghosh, 2016).
A village, Guiyu, in Southeast China has been the topic of many research papers concerning e-waste and the health effects thereof. Many tonnes of ewaste is dumped in this village annually where the people from surrounding villages come to work at this landfills. These landfills do not have proper infrastructure and the people don’t receive proper training or protective gear when working with this waste (Guo et al., 2014).
Heavy metals do not break down easily and through processes such as bio-accumulation can impact the health of communities of people and animals in the area. These heavy metals can be found in the water, soil and food that these communities use. Toxins such as lead can lead to blood poison, while other toxins such as beryllium, silver, gold, and mercury can lead to damage of DNA, cancer and even brain damage (Leung, 2008; Rahman, Azirun and Boyce, 2013; Guo et al., 2014; Pascale et al., 2016).
Not only are the heavy metals highly neuro- and genotoxic but e-waste can also contain many plastics that contain other pollutants. These pollutants like BPA’s and PCDD/PCDF/PCDB are xenotoxic. Such pollutants may act as endocrine disruptors that negatively impact the

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