15 December 2013

Africa: UN Warns of Hazards of Electronic Waste

Photo: Natalie Behring/Greenpeace
Electronic waste.

The United Nations predicts that the amount of electronic waste disposed of annually worldwide will surge 33 percent by 2017.

The U.N.'s "Solving the E-Waste Problem" initiative issued a report Sunday saying that the weight of electronic goods discarded every year worldwide would rise to 65.4 million metric tons by 2017, with most of the growth coming from developing nations.

The alliance of U.N. organizations, grassroots groups and industry said China had the highest volume of electrical goods put on the market last year, with the U.S. ranking second. Taken together developing and emerging countries already produce as much e-waste as the developed world.

E-waste - defined as anything with a battery or electrical cord - often contains materials that are toxic to humans and the environment.

The study called for better monitoring of e-waste exports, saying a lack of consistent reporting makes it difficult to formulate effective rules of the treatment of electrical junk.

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