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E-wastes swelling in India, China: UNEP


If India do not spring into action to deal with its mountains of discarded computers and mobile phones immediately, the country is likely to have a scary 500 per cent increase in its e-waste by 2020. Also in the list are South Africa and China which would have jumped by 200 to 400 percent from 2007 levels, according to a report by the UN Environment Programme.

"Sales of electronic products in countries like China and India and across continents such as Africa and Latin America are set to rise sharply in the next 10 years," the UNEP report stated.

"And unless action is stepped up to properly collect and recycle materials, many developing countries face the spectre of hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health."

The report entitled "Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources" was released at a meeting of Basel Convention and other world chemical authorities prior to UNEP's Governing Council meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

It used data from 11 developing countries to estimate current and future e-waste generation such as desk and laptop computers, printers, mobile phones, pagers, digital photo and music devices, refrigerators, toys and televisions. Waste from discarded mobile phones would be seven times higher in China and 18 times higher in India by the same year.

"This report gives new urgency to establishing ambitious, formal and regulated processes for collecting and managing e-waste via the setting up of large, efficient facilities in China," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

"China is not alone in facing a serious challenge. India, Brazil, Mexico and others may also face rising environmental damage and health problems if e-waste recycling is left to the vagaries of the informal sector."

"By acting now and planning forward many countries can turn an e-challenge into an e-opportunity," he added.

China already produces an estimated 2.3 million tonnes of e-waste, second only to the United States with about three million tonnes, the report said. The report also found that the global e-waste generation is growing by about 40 million tonnes a year.

For complete report, visit: http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=612

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