Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geography of global electronic waste ('e-waste') burden

Date:
July 23, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste, scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up. Their study found that nearly a quarter of e-waste that developed countries discard floods into just seven developing countries -- with major potential health risks for the people who live there.

Old and used electric waste (stock image). Nearly a quarter of the waste from developed nations went to China, India and five West African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia.
Credit: geografika / Fotolia

As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste (or "e-waste"), scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up. Published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, their study found that nearly a quarter of e-waste that developed countries discard floods into just seven developing countries -- with major potential health risks for the people who live there.

Related Articles


Knut Breivik and colleagues note that the export from developed to developing regions of e-waste -- everything from used TVs and refrigerators to computers and cell phones -- has caused concern. On one hand, this practice can help people in resource-poor countries acquire technology or earn income from selling re-usable parts and raw materials from the waste. But on the other, environmental regulations and enforcement in developing countries are often too weak to protect local people and their environment from the waste's toxins, including lead and mercury, which are known to make people sick. To help address this mounting problem, Breivik's team decided to pinpoint how much e-waste the world is discarding and where it goes.

Past estimates on the flow of e-waste vary, so the researchers analyzed data from many studies to arrive at more reliable numbers. They estimated that in 2005, more than 38 million tons of used electronics were discarded worldwide. Nearly a quarter of the waste from developed nations went to China, India and five West African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia. Others have predicted that e-waste will top 72 million tons by 2017. A better understanding of the fate of e-waste could inform how the world deals with it, the researchers say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Knut Breivik, James M. Armitage, Frank Wania, Kevin C. Jones. Tracking the Global Generation and Exports of e-Waste. Do Existing Estimates Add up? Environmental Science & Technology, 2014; 140709144457003 DOI: 10.1021/es5021313

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Geography of global electronic waste ('e-waste') burden." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723111139.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2014, July 23). Geography of global electronic waste ('e-waste') burden. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723111139.htm
American Chemical Society. "Geography of global electronic waste ('e-waste') burden." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723111139.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins