It is easy to overlook an issue when it does not impact us directly. We are all guilty of doing this. After all, we have so much going on in our everyday lives, and there are so many things that consume our time. This is understandable. But e-waste is a truly massive problem, and it is something that is impacting human health. You don’t need to embark on huge fundraising events or dedicate excessive time to this problem. But, if we all make little changes we could actually be saving peoples’ lives.
What do we mean by little changes? Simply disposing of your electronic goods in the correct manner, reusing them instead of throwing them away, and basically doing whatever we can to make sure they do not end up in landfills around the world.
If you can do this, you will make a massive change, and this is not something that is said lightly. The truth about ewaste is a very frightening one. A lot of people are unaware of how damaging electronic waste is. However, when we chuck away batteries, mobile phones, refrigerators and such like, what we are doing is allowing dangerous elements, such as lead and mercury, to leak into the environment. This is not only posing a threat to our beautiful planet but it is causing a severe threat to human health. Why? Well, the vast majority of this e-waste is exported to developing nations where adults and children are risking their lives so they can find items that they can make money from.
Ghana is one of the worst areas for e-waste landfills, and here you will find children brandishing hammers and chisels so that they can prise apart casings and extract the wires that are inside They rummage around these polluted and illegal sites looking for anything that can earn them money. On average, they earn around £1.30 a day for their efforts; all the while they are ruining their health and risking their lives. Of course, you may think that it sounds a bit ridiculous to put your health at such risk for mere small change. But, these families have nothing, and they will do whatever they can to put some food on the table.
While these individuals are stripping away keyboards and trying to find copper, they are breathing in dangerous fumes. You only need to look online for photographs and videos to see the acrid black smoke that surrounds these dumpsites. But, that doesn’t do the horrific conditions justice, as the vile smell overwhelms the areas, causing people to choke and feel unwell. It is not only a risk for those who rummage through the sites, but there are many people that live near these tips as well. This is the real truth about ewaste.
It is believed that cancer and other illnesses kill a large number of young people in these areas. They do all of this so that they have a bit of money to buy some food. When you consider that global e-waste is set to reach 55.1 million tonnes by 2018, you see why this is a worrying concern. But, with time on our side, we can make sure we don’t reach the predicted figure.