Children and Digital Dumpsites Report Highlights impacts of E-waste

What is the News?

The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report titled “Children and Digital Dumpsites”.

About Children and Digital Dumpsites Report:
  • The report summarizes the latest scientific knowledge on the links between informal e-waste recycling activities and the health impact among children.
  • The report also underlined the risk faced by children working in the informal processing of discarded electronic devices or e-waste.

Key Findings of the Children and Digital Dumpsites Report:

  • Every year, as many as 18 million children — as young as five years — and about 12.9 million women work at e-waste dumpsites.
  • The e-waste from high-income countries is dumped in the middle- or low-income countries for processing every year. This e-waste is dismantled and recycled by children.
  • This e-waste contains over 1,000 precious metals and other substances like gold, copper, mercury, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Low-income countries do not have proper safeguarding regulations, which makes the process even more dangerous.
  • Moreover, children are especially preferred at these dumpsites because of their small and dexterous hands. Several women, including pregnant women, also work at these sites.
Impact of E-Waste:
  • Children: The children working at these e-waste dumpsites are prone to improper lung function, deoxyribonucleic acid damage, and increased risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. Children are also less likely to metabolize or eradicate pollutants absorbed.
  • Women: Processing e-waste exposes women as well as their children to toxins, which can lead to premature births and stillbirth.
  • E-Waste Areas: The hazardous impact of working at e-waste dumpsites is also experienced by families and communities that reside in the vicinity of these e-waste dumpsites.

Read Also :-E-Waste Management in India- An Overview

  • The report has called for the monitoring, safe disposal of e-waste, and raising awareness about its outcomes on the health of children and women working at these dumpsites.

About E-Waste:

  • E-Waste(Electronic-Waste) is a term used to describe old, end-of-life, or discarded electronic appliances. It includes computers, mobiles, consumer electronics among others.
E-Waste Generation:
  • According to the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, the volume of e-waste generated is surging rapidly across the globe.
  • About 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were generated in 2019. But only 17.4% of this e-waste was processed in formal recycling facilities.
  • The rest of it was dumped in low- or middle-income countries for illegal processing by informal workers.
  • Moreover, this is likely to increase in the coming years because of the rise in the number of smartphones and computers.

Source: Down To Earth

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