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E-Waste 13 March , 2007

Posted by eugene in 2 Improve Awareness & Knowledge, 6 Use Rights as Citizens & Consumers.
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ban.jpg                                                        © Basel Action Network 2006

According to Today, the recent IT Show broke records with 718,000 visitors and sales of $48 million. We are buying more electronic products, whether we need them or not. Consumers nowadays are caught in a cycle where we try to keep up with the latest electronic gadgets. As companies come up with new products with more functions or upgrades, we change our electronic gadgets faster than we change clothes. Do we need the new gadgets in the first place? Are we buying the products because we actually need it or because the product advertisement says we should have it? It would be wise to consider the idea of sufficiency before buying. Sufficiency is about what needs to be done; enough and not too much.

As we buy more electrical and electronic products, it also mean that more such products are discarded. This is becoming a global waste problem, also known as the e-waste problem. E-waste contain toxic chemicals that will pollute the environment if not disposed properly. The export of e-waste from developed countries to developing countries on the pretext of recycling also poses environmental and health problems. Learn more about the e-waste problem from Greenpeace and Basel Action Network (BAN). The following video is a trailer of the documentary, The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-Use and Abuse to Africa, filmed by BAN.

Recently, a United Nations initiative, StEP – Solving the E-Waste Problem, was launched to develop a sustainable approach to e-waste. There are 5 task forces that focuses on policies, design for end-of-life, reuse and recycling infrastructure, and capacity building. The international initiative involves UN organisations, governments, universities and research institutes, and also industry players such as Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft.

Next time, think twice before buying another electronic product. Do you need it?

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