Group advises public to segregate e-waste
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - February 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A waste and pollution watchdog has reminded the public not to mix e-waste with regular waste to keep their toxic content from entering and polluting the environment and damaging human health.

The EcoWaste Coalition advised the public to practice safe e-waste management following the release of a new report indicating that only 20 percent of the 50 million tons of e-waste produced globally is formally recycled.

According to the report “A New Circular Vision for Electronics: Time for a Global Reboot,” less than 20 percent of e-waste is formally recycled, with 80 percent either ending up in landfill or being informally recycled – “much of it by hand in developing countries, exposing workers to hazardous and carcinogenic substances such as mercury, lead and cadmium.”

Published by the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) and the UN E-Waste Coalition, the report said that “e-waste can be toxic, is not biodegradable and accumulates in the environment, in the soil, air, water and living things.”

E-waste is defined as anything with a plug, electric cord or battery (including electrical and electronic equipment) from toasters to toothbrushes, smartphones, fridges, laptops and LED televisions that has reached the end of its life, as well as the components that make up these end-of-life products.

“When it is not being stored in cellars, drawers and cabinets, e-waste is often incinerated or dumped in landfills, or makes its way around the world to be pulled apart by hand or burned by the world’s poorest, to the detriment of health and the environment,” the report said.

The new report should encourage a review of current regulations and practices leading to increased e-waste prevention and reduction efforts, the group suggested.

Primo Morillo, coalition campaigner, said “although Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act considers e-waste as special waste requiring separate handling, we often find e-waste mixed with regular trash or simply dumped in street corners.”

He said a functional system for e-waste collection nationwide is needed to keep toxic pollutants from entering the environment through improper handling, recycling or disposal. “Children, women and workers are most susceptible to the health risks of unsafe e-waste management,” he said.

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