Global E-waste Surging: Up 21% in 5 Years

A record 53.6 million tonnes (Mt) of e-waste was produced
globally in 2019,
the weight of 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2;
$57 billion in gold and other components discarded – mostly dumped
or burned

By External Source
Jul 2 2020 (IPS-Partners)

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was
generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 per cent in just five years,
according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020.

The new report also predicts global
e-waste — discarded products with a battery or plug — will
reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years.
This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste
stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and
electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few options for
repair.

Only 17.4 per cent of 2019’s e-waste was collected and
recycled. This means that gold, silver, copper, platinum and other
high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US $57
billion — a sum greater than the Gross Domestic Product of most
countries – were mostly dumped or burned rather than being
collected for treatment and reuse.

According to the report, Asia generated the greatest volume of
e-waste in 2019, some 24.9 Mt, followed by the Americas (13.1 Mt)
and Europe (12 Mt), while Africa and Oceania generated 2.9 Mt and
0.7 Mt respectively.

For perspective, last year’s e-waste
weighed substantially more than all the adults in Europe, or as
much as 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2, enough to
form a line 125 km long.

E-waste is a health and environmental hazard, containing toxic
additives or hazardous substances such as mercury, which damages
the human brain and / or coordination system.

Other key findings from the Global E-waste Monitor
2020:

• Proper e-waste management can help mitigate
global warming. In 2019, an estimated 98 Mt of CO2-equivalents were
released into the atmosphere from discarded fridges and
air-conditioners, contributing roughly 0.3 per cent of global
greenhouse gas emissions
• In per capita terms, last year’s discarded e-waste averaged
7.3 kg for every man, woman and child on Earth
• Europe ranked first worldwide in terms of e-waste generation
per capita with 16.2 kg per capita. Oceania came second (16.1 kg)
followed by the Americas (13.3 kg). Asia and Africa were much
lower: 5.6 and 2.5 kg respectively
• E-waste is a health and environmental hazard, containing toxic
additives or hazardous substances such as mercury, which damages
the human brain and / or coordination system. An estimated 50
tonnes of mercury – used in monitors, PCBs and fluorescent and
energy-saving light sources – are contained in undocumented flows
of e-waste annually
• E-waste in 2019 was mainly comprised of small equipment (17.4
Mt), large equipment (13.1 Mt), and temperature exchange equipment
(10.8 Mt). Screens and monitors, lamps, small IT, and
telecommunication equipment represented 6.7 Mt, 4.7 Mt, and 0.9 Mt
respectively
• Since 2014 the e-waste categories increasing fastest in total
weight terms: temperature exchange equipment (+7 per cent), large
equipment (+5 per cent), lamps and small equipment (+4 per cent).
According to the report, this trend is driven by the growing
consumption of those products in lower income countries, where
those products improve the living standards. Small IT and
telecommunication equipment have been growing more slowly, and
screens and monitors have shown a slight decrease (-1 per cent),
explained largely by lighter flat panel displays replacing heavy
CRT monitors and screens

• Since 2014, the number of countries that have
adopted a national e-waste policy, legislation or regulation in
place has increased from 61 to 78. While a positive trend, this is
far from the target set by the International Telecommunication
Union which is to raise the percentage of countries with an e-waste
legislation to 50 per cent

* * * * *

The Global E-waste Monitor 2020 (www.globalewaste.org) is a
collaborative product of the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership
(GESP), formed by UN University (UNU), the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Solid Waste
Association (ISWA), in close collaboration with the UN Environment
Programme (UNEP). The World Health Organization (WHO) and the
German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) also
substantially contributed to this year’s Global E-waste Monitor
2020.

* * * * *

Comments

“The findings of this year’s UNU-affiliated Global E-waste
Monitor suggest that humanity is not sufficiently implementing the
SDGs. Substantially greater efforts are urgently required to ensure
smarter and more sustainable global production, consumption, and
disposal of electrical and electronic equipment. This report
contributes mightily to the sense of urgency in turning around this
dangerous global pattern.”
David M. Malone, Rector United Nations
University (UNU) & UN Under Secretary General

“Far more electronic waste is generated than is being safely
recycled in most parts of the world. More cooperative efforts are
required to make aware of this increasing issue and take
appropriate countermeasures supplement by appropriate research and
training. I am pleased that UNITAR now joins this important Global
E-waste Statistics Partnership of UNU, ITU and ISWA, illustrating
how valuable these activities are.”
Nikhil Seth, Executive Director, United
Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) & UN
Assistant Secretary-General

”The Global E-waste Monitor highlights the pressing issue of
e-waste management in today’s digitally connected world in that
the way we produce, consume, and dispose of electronic devices has
become unsustainable. Monitoring e-waste streams will contribute to
the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and tracking
the implementation of the ITU Connect 2030 Agenda. The Monitor
serves as a valuable resource for governments to improve their
global e-waste recycling rate by developing the
necessary/needed/required e-waste policies and legislation. ITU
will continue to support the efforts made in this report towards
the global response required in identifying solutions for
e-waste.”
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director,
Telecommunication Development Bureau, International
Telecommunication Union (ITU)

“E-waste quantities are rising 3 times faster than the
world’s population and 13 per cent faster than the world’s GDP
during the last five years. This sharp rise creates substantial
environmental and health pressures and demonstrates the urgency to
combine the fourth industrial revolution with circular economy. The
fourth industrial revolution either will advance a new circular
economy approach for our economies or it will stimulate further
resource depletion and new pollution waves. The progress achieved
in e-waste monitoring by the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership
is a sign of hope that the world can manage not only to monitor
closely the e-waste rise but also to control their impacts and set
up proper management schemes”
Antonis Mavropoulos, President, International
Solid Waste Association (ISWA)

“Informal and improper e-waste recycling is a major emerging
hazard silently affecting our health and that of future
generations. One in four children are dying from avoidable
environmental exposures. One in four children could be saved, if we
take action to protect their health and ensure a safe environment.
WHO is pleased to join forces in this new Global E-waste Monitor to
allow evidence, information about health impacts and joint
solutions and policies to be made available to protect our future
generations’ health.”
Maria Neira, Director, Environment, Climate
Change and Health Department, World Health Organization (WHO)

* * * * *

The post
Global E-waste Surging: Up 21% in 5 Years
appeared first on
Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

A record 53.6 million tonnes (Mt) of e-waste was produced
globally in 2019,
the weight of 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2;
$57 billion in gold and other components discarded – mostly dumped
or burned

The post
Global E-waste Surging: Up 21% in 5 Years
appeared first on
Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Global E-waste Surging: Up 21% in 5 Years