Mothers Day is all about celebrating the unconditional love and bond, we share with our mothers. Imagine a moment when you don’t have clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, nutritious food to eat, fuel to drive your car and all other natural resources which you need to live a comfortable life. All these things are the unconditional shower of love by mother earth on us. But unfortunately, with every passing day we are brutally scarring mother earth with our irresponsible practices.
A recently published UNU report quantified, that 41.8 million tonnes of electronic waste was generated globally in 2014. Shockingly, with over 1.7 million tonnes of eWaste, India stood at fifth place globally in electronic junk generation.
Apart from health hazards, obsolete discarded gadgets are causing serious harm to the environment and Mother Earth. Over 90% of the electronic waste is handled by the informal sector in India and is creating serious pollution through its crude recycling techniques. Here is how eWaste is polluting the environment and surroundings.
• Landfills: Majority of the eWaste is dumped in landfills. Toxins from electronic junk dumped in landfills slowly enter the surrounding environment and making it toxic and dangerous for living beings.
• Open Air Incineration: Burning of circuit boards and cables from eWaste to extract precious metals like gold, silver and copper disposes large amount of toxic smoke releases toxins into the environment. This toxic smoke contains various heavy metals like Barium, Arsenic and Beryllium among many, capable enough to contaminate the air we breathe.
• Acid Bath: Informal eWaste recyclers use acid bath to extract precious metals from eWaste. Electronic waste is dipped in tubs filled with acid. After few hours, precious metals disintegrate and settle down in bottom. Recyclers filter the metals from tub and discard used acid into water drains or rivers. This practice is highly toxic, as it directly poisons our water resources and very often the contaminated water seeps into drinking aquifers too.
• Crushing: Crushing is a very common practice among informal eWaste recyclers. Recyclers break the eWaste into pieces for recycling and in the process several hazardous toxins get mixed with the soil.
Help Mother Earth
Taking into consideration the environmental and health hazards caused by improper handling of eWaste, here are some measures which we can take to reduce the negative impacts of electronic waste.
Reduce: Buying and upgrading gadgets frequently just for the sake of having the latest and best device is never a good idea from an environmental perspective. We must make sure that we use the electronics we currently have, till they reach their natural end of life for better sustainability and lesser electronic waste.
Reuse: If you have an old gadget lying useless, repurpose it for some other use. For instance; an old smartphone could be used as a music player, camera or a Wi-Fi router. Reusing old gadgets increases its life and prevents it from ending up in landfills.
Recycle: If you own end-of-life electronics gathering dust in your garage or store, make sure you recycle them with a registered and responsible eWaste recycler. While proper recycling of old gadgets ensures its toxins are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, it also helps in extracting precious and other rare earth metals from eWaste for reuse, increasing overall sustainability.
While we keep no stone unturned to take care of our mothers, we don’t recognize the importance of Mother Earth. This Mothers Day, Attero urges all to sit back and think once about the well-being of Mother Earth, who has created and given such a beautiful life to all of us. Discard and recycle your electronic waste responsibly and take a small step towards greener and sustainable Mother Earth.
Happy Mothers Day!