UN to Tackle “E-Waste”

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The largest global environmental meeting since Copenhagen is taking place this week in Bali, and will focus on the growing threat in developing world through discarded electronics such as computers.

A report by the United Nations published this week warned that developing countries face increasing environmental and health hazards from electronic waste. The report’s release is timed to coincide with a week-long UN conference in Bali, Indonesia, on the topic which brings together officials and environmental from than 100 countries.

Called “Recycling – from E-Waste to Resource,” the UN report said that China already produced more than 2.3 million tons of e-waste a year, second only to the US, and has also become a dumping ground for waste from other countries.

The report warns that without immediate action to ensure safe and proper collection and disposal of materials, many developing countries “face the spectre of hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health.”

“Managing this waste has become not just important, it has become absolutely urgent,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) said in a news conference.

Experts say exposure to chemicals from e-waste, including lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium and polybrominated biphennyls – could damage the brain and nervous system, affect the kidneys and liver and cause birth defects.


  • Mark Spowart

    A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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