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The Problem of Electronic Waste

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The electronic waste (e-waste) produced every day is equally rising tremendously with the growing usage of electrical and electronic equipment around the world. Unmodernized techniques of recycling electronic equipment such us withholding inherent copper expose both adult and child workers as well as their families to range of hazardous substances, direct contact with dangerous materials such as lead, chromium, cadmium, brominated flame retardants or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), inhalation of toxic fumes, as well as from accumulation of chemicals in soil, water and food. In addition, e-waste can increase to a number of harmful by-products likely to affect human health, to its hazardous materials, being processed. Also, demounting of electrical equipment may possibly bear an increased risk of injury. Few years ago, different international calls for action have illuminated the need of strategic negotiations in the field of e-waste. These include the Libreville Declaration emanating from the first Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa 2008 and the Busan Pledge for Action on Children’s Environmental Health of 2009 issued at the International Conference on Chemical Management ICCM3 in 2012 (WHO, 2017).

The Philippines is facing with a mounting problem of electronic waste and in just a small span of time before the effects of toxic materials dumped in the environment affect human and animal life. In the Philippines, piles of electronic waste such as discarded linear and compact fluorescent lamps and computer circuit boards (PCBs) are dumped in open pits, putting local water systems as well as deep wells in danger of contamination, which can cause health problems and birth defects ( Gulf News Philippines, 2018 ). As a matter of fact, Greenpeace, 2005 warned that the Philippines face a looming electronic waste problem which is compounded by the lack of international legal protection because our country have not ratified the Basel Ban, which prohibits industrialized nations from dumping hazardous materials into third world countries.

In our locality, electrical waste problems are also prominent. We can see some piled electrical waste materials such as defected televisions, radios, computers and even appliances in our neighbor’s backyards. Some people used to burn this wastes that can affect their own health and even others. Children are especially vulnerable to the health risks if they will be exposed to the smoke coming from the burning e-waste. Improper e-waste disposal may also lead to flash floods when clogged in the waterways such as canals.

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