Environment and health at increasing risk from growing weight of ‘e-waste’

Source: ITU The Global E-wasteMonitor 2017.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Around 50 million tonnes of electronic waste, or e-waste, is being thrown away each year, according to a new joint United Nations report – which exceeds the combined weight of all the commercial airliners ever made, or alternatively, enough Eiffel Towers to fill the whole of Manhattan.

To highlight the rising challenge posed by mountains of discarded electronics worldwide, seven UN entities came together to launch the report at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, in a bid to offer some solutions to a behemoth-sized problem that is making the world sicker and adding to environmental degradation.

The joint report, entitled, “A New Circular Vision for Electronics – Time for a Global Reboot”, calls for a new vision for e-waste based on the “circular economy” concept, whereby a regenerative system can minimize waste and energy leakage.

“E-waste is a growing global challenge that poses a serious threat to the environment and human health worldwide”, said Stephan Sicars, Director of the Department of Environment at the UN Industrial Development Organization. “To minimize this threat, UNIDO works with various UN agencies and other partners on a range of e-waste projects, all of which are underpinned by a circular economy approach”.

According to the report, a deliberative process must be instilled to change the system – one that collaborates with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises, academia, trade unions and civil society.

Walking the talk

Considerable work is already under way to harness a circular economy. For example, the Nigerian Government, the Global Environment Facility and UN Environment announced a $2 million investment to formalize an e-waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The new investment will leverage over $13 million in additional financing from the private sector.

“Thousands of tonnes of e-waste is disposed of by the world’s poorest workers in the worst of conditions, putting their health and lives at risk”, maintained Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO). “We need better e-waste strategies and green standards as well as closer collaboration between governments, employers and unions to make the circular economy work for both people and planet.”

Despite growing e-waste, “A New Circular Vision” points to the importance of technologies from the so-called Internet of Things – a network of devices that contain electronics and the connectivity that allows them to exchange data – through to cloud computing advances, which can all result in smarter recycling and tracking of e-waste.

“A circular economy brings with it tremendous environmental and economic benefits for us all” said Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UN Environment). “Our planet’s survival will depend on how well we retain the value of products within the system by extending their life.”

The report supports the work of the E-waste Coalition, which includes International Labour Organization (ILO); International Telecommunication Union (ITU); United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment); United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); United Nations University (UNU) and Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

People are scared of artificial intelligence – here’s why we should embrace it instead

India can soar in the robot age. This is how

An alternative view of Globalization 4.0, and how to get there

Ahead of key UN-backed Marrakech migration conference, youth recount harrowing journeys

Attack on Saudi facilities risks dragging Yemen into ‘regional conflagration’: UN Envoy

‘Save Tuvalu; save the world’; UN chief echoes rallying cry from front lines of global climate emergency

Sudan military committed to ‘ensuring stability’ and ‘peaceful transition’ says senior diplomat, as UN rights chief appeals for protesters’ rights to be upheld

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

The Social Committee may accept the new ‘contractual’ Eurozone

“What a Wonderful World”: the unsettled relationship between Climate Change and Human Health

ILO warns of widespread insecurity in the global labour market

Reforms in Latvia must result in stronger enforcement to tackle foreign bribery and subsequent money laundering risks

After John Lewis: 21 civil rights leaders who are shaping America

It’s time to end the stigma around mental health in the workplace

State aid: Commission approves €1.5 billion Dutch scheme to compensate public transport companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

The China-US trade deal will be signed on time; the path is set

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

MEPs strengthen EU financial watchdogs

Europe split in confronting the US sanctions on Iran, Washington isolated

EU Budget 2020 conciliation talks suspended

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

This Japanese concept will help you see the world – and learn – in a different way

EU signs with Canada historic trade agreement, others to follow

Donor countries set international standard for preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in development sector

Trump beats Clinton but Americans will learn the hard way that the US can’t change with an election

Algorithms are being used to convict criminals and decide jail time. We need to make sure they are fair

Prolonged economic crisis and drought demands urgent response for Zimbabwe’s ‘hardest hit’: UN relief chief

Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

We must stop a devastating ‘battle to the end’ in southwest Syria, declares UN envoy

The Commission accused of tolerating corruption and fraud in taxation

Make progress or risk redundancy, UN chief warns world disarmament body

Guatemala Dos Erres massacre conviction welcomed by UN human rights office

‘Ground Zero’: Report from the former Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan

Peacekeeping: A ‘great opportunity’ to develop professionally and personally

Cultural leaders envision a post-COVID world

As Syria conflict enters ninth year, humanitarian crisis ‘far from over’, Security Council hears

99 per cent of intravenous drug users lack access to health, ‘social services with dignity’ says UNAIDS chief

One small flight for a drone, one ‘big leap’ for global health

This is how Europe is helping companies and workers as the coronavirus crisis deepens

Health privatization to blame for health inequality or poor investment in public health?

UN chief sends condolences to families of Malawi flood victims

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

Why Europe’s high productive performance is discredited?

Women ‘vital’ to peace efforts and ensuring long-lasting stability in Afghanistan

UN General Assembly President upholds value of multilateralism in speech closing annual debate

Further reforms will move Slovakia toward a more innovative and inclusive society

Negotiations on new EU collective redress rules to begin

Resilience in times of pandemic

State aid: Commission approves €199.45 million Italian support to compensate Alitalia for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

There are more than 1 billion guns in the world and this is who owns them

What makes a good healthcare professional?

Vaccine against Ebola: Commission grants first-ever market authorisation

European Parliament calls on Russia to end occupation of Georgian territories

‘Break the cycle’ of disaster-response-recovery, urges top UN official, as death toll mounts from Cyclone Idai

Caravan of Mothers of Missing Migrants kick off a global migration search movement

Great Reset: Why LGBT+ inclusion is the secret to cities’ post-pandemic success

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s