High-tech toys have always topped my wish list. Advertisement of new technology– whether mp3 players, laptops, mobile phones, cameras, etc. — never fails to pique my interest. And I am not alone. I can easily count 10 more (my fellow bloggers here at PinoyTechBlog) plus, a slew of gadget addicts scattered all over the world who embrace the latest in electronic gadgets.
People buy, swap or upgrade. And when we do, gadgets become obsolete… Electronic waste, or e-waste, pile up.
Sadly, we do not have the resources to properly dispose the obsolete ones. And the Philippines’ failure to ratify the Basel Ban poses an even bigger threat. We get the trash from other countries.
“Greenpeace warned that the Philippines faces a looming electronic waste (E-waste) problem which is compounded by lack of international legal protection because the country has not ratified the Basel Ban (an agreement which prohibits industrialized nation from dumping hazardous material into developing countries), and further worsened by unregulated recycling procedures of existing E-waste processing facilities which actually violate the clean Air Act.” Agence France-Presse
“œThere is no question that the world has benefited immensely from the rapid developments in the electronics industry. But most people remain unaware of the negative health and environmental impacts associated with the disposal of electronic products,” said Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner in Manila.
Because of the lack of proper measures for E-waste disposal in the Philippines, the discarded technology is incinerated, dumped in landfills, or end up with backyard recyclers, exposing workers, poor communities, and the environment to poisonous heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, and halogenated substances such as brominated flame retardants (BFR), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
More information are available here.
The solution to this problem lies in the hands of the manufacturers. But as individuals, we can try to help by: (1) upgrading or repairing electronic products, instead of replacing them with new ones; (2) donating our old equipment to a family member or friend; and (3) by checking around for disposal options rather than just throwing the old, useless gadget in the trash.