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Is The World Able To Achieve Sustainable Development Goals In E-Waste Management?

In today's modern world, the growing advancement of technology is making the human lives easier and simpler but at the same time, the wastes generated from this advancement is also increasing. Management of e-waste is complex and has the potentiality of cause enough significant harm to the environment as well as the economy of the country.

Today e-waste is considered as one of the main source of waste production that is growing rapidly and this fast growth of e-waste production is the result of the usage of advanced technology in an uncontrollable manner. If the usage of technology is not controlled and managed in a proper way then the harmful chemical components produced from this e-wastes are going to effect the human health along with the eco-system very badly because these e-wastes are composed of more than 1000 types of different toxic and non-toxic substances.

According to some reports and studies, out of the total e-wastes produced, 60% of them consists of metals like gold, copper, iron, also consists of plastic materials like polycarbonates, polyesters, polyethylene and oxides like silica, alumina, potassium and etc. This rapid growth of e-waste generation is always going to be a threat in the way of attaining sustainable development goals. Although those countries which are technologically developed remains the primary source of e-waste generation, but the amount of e-waste generated in the developing countries has increased to a large extent.

And as a result of a lack of waste management rules and policies to take care of this problem these developing countries are in a more vulnerable situation than the already developed countries. India is ranked among the top countries in the list of e-waste generation, with an estimated number of almost around 2 million tons every year. As per the rules that were introduced in 2011(further amended in 2016) and followed in India regarding the management of e-waste, the businesses have to take the responsibility of managing the wastes.

Regulatory Measures Taken By India Regarding E-Waste Management: The rules regarding the management of e-wastes were enacted very recently in our country, however before this rules were enforced, e-waste management was covered under hazardous waste management rules. The E-waste (Management and Handling) rules was enacted in 2011 under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

The main objective of enacting this rule was to make it possible of recovery or reusing the utility materials from the e-wastes produced, which will eventually lead to reduction of the amount of hazardous wastes that are to be disposed. Further in 2016, the E-waste (management) rule was enacted to make the rules stricter to avoid the disposal of hazardous wastes as much as possible. Further a manufacturer, dealer and Producer Responsibility Organizations (PRO) were set up and brought under the cover of these Rules.

These PROs are the professional organizations, which are authorized and financed by the producers of the e-wastes, which takes the responsibility of collecting and channelizing of the e-wastes generated from their products to ensure better management of disposal of the e-wastes. Also the concept and idea of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) was introduced for the first time, which makes the manufacturers take the liability for the safe disposal of e-wastes produced from their products.

As per the E-waste (management) rules 2016, certain responsibilities were set up and mentioned to be followed by the manufacturers, dealers and producers for better management of these wastes.

Some of the responsibilities as mentioned in the E-waste (management) rules 2016 are:

Responsibilities of the manufacturer:

  1. Collect all the e-wastes generated during the manufacturing of the goods and products and then channelize it for disposal or recycle it in a proper manner;
  2. Apply for an authorisation in accordance with the procedure as prescribed under the rule book of concerned State Pollution Control Board;
  3. To make sure that no harm is caused to the environment due to the storage and transportation of the e-wastes;
  4. Maintain proper records of the e-wastes generated or handled and disposed and make all such records available during the scrutiny by the concerned State Pollution Control Board;

Responsibilities of collection centres:

  1. Collect all the generated e-wastes on behalf of the manufacturer or dismantler or recycler or refurbished;
  2. Ensure that all the facilities regarding the management of these e-wastes are in accordance with the guidelines issued by Central Pollution Control Board from time to time and follows the standard as set by the board;
  3. Ensure that all the e-wastes that are collected by them is properly stored in a secured way until it is sent to an authorized dismantler or recycler for disposal or recycling, as the case may be;
  4. Ensure that no harm is done to the environment due to the storage and transportation of the e-wastes;
  5. Maintain all the records properly of the e-wastes managed as per the guidelines set by the Central Pollution Control Board and make all such records available during the scrutiny by the Central Board or the concerned State Pollution Control Board when asked for.

Responsibilities of the refurbisher:

  1. Collect all the e-wastes generated while refurbishing and channelize those wastes to the authorised dismantlers for dismantling or to the recyclers for recycling through its collection centre;
  2. Apply in accordance with the procedures laid down in the rule book of the concerned State Pollution Control Board for one-time authorisation;
  3. Ensure that no harm or damage is caused to the environment due to the storage of the wastes and while transporting of these e-wastes through the collection centres;
  4. Ensure that during the refurbishing process, there is no adverse harmful effect on the health of the people and on the environment.

Responsibilities of the recycler:

  1. Must ensure that the facility and recycling processes are in accordance with the standards or guidelines prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board from time to time;
  2. Obtain authorisation from the Pollution Control Board of the respective state in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the rule book;
  3. Ensure that no harm is caused to the environment during storage and transportation of e-waste;
  4. Ensure that the recycling processes do not affect or cause problems to the health of living beings and the environment;
  5. Make available all records for the Central Pollution Control Board or the concerned State Pollution Control Board during inspection;
  6. Ensure that if there is any fraction or material that is not recycled in its facility, it is sent to the respective authorised recyclers for further recycling;
  7. Ensure that all the residues generated during the recycling process are disposed of in an authorised treatment storage disposal facility;
  8. Properly maintain all the records of e-wastes collected, dismantled, recycled, and sent to authorised recycler.

Responsibilities of the dismantler:

  1. Must ensure that the facility and recycling processes are in accordance with the standards or guidelines prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board from time to time;
  2. Obtain authorisation from the Pollution Control Board of the respective state in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the rule book;
  3. Ensure that no harm is caused to the environment during storage and transportation of e-waste;
  4. Ensure that the dismantling processes do not have any adverse effect on the health and the environment;
  5. Ensure that dismantled e-waste is segregated and sent to the authorised recycling facilities for recovery of materials;
  6. Ensure that non-recyclable or non-recoverable components are sent to authorised treatment storage and disposal facilities;
  7. Maintain a record of e-waste collected, dismantled, and sent to authorised recycler and make such record available for scrutiny by the Central Pollution Control Board or the concerned State Pollution Control Board;
  8. Do not process any e-waste for recovery or refining of materials unless he is authorised to do so by the concerned State Pollution Control Board as a recycler for refining and recovery of materials;
  9. Operation without authorisation by any dismantler, as defined in the rule book, shall be considered as causing damage to the environment.

E-waste (management) rules 2016 also talks about the responsibilities of the government for proper management of the e-wastes produced within the country. As per the E-waste (management) rules 2016, the responsibilities of government as mentioned are:
  1. Department of Industry in State or any other government agency authorised in this regard by the State Government, to ensure earmarking or allocation of industrial space or shed for e-waste dismantling and recycling in the existing and upcoming industrial park, estate, and industrial clusters;
  2. Department of Labour in the State or any other government agency authorised in this regard by the State Government shall:
    1. ensure recognition and registration of workers involved in dismantling and recycling;
    2. assist formation of groups of such workers to facilitate setting up dismantling facilities;
    3. Undertake industrial skill development activities for the workers involved in dismantling and recycling;
    4. Undertake annual monitoring and ensure safety & health of workers involved in dismantling and recycling;
  3. State Government to prepare an integrated plan for effective implementation of these provisions, and to submit an annual report to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Current Situation in Asia-Pacific Region: The main problem with managing e-waste is how quickly it is produced and how poorly society is equipped to deal with it in a sustainable way. Approximately 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were produced worldwide in 2019, and 74.7 million tonnes were predicted to be produced by 2030. At 24.9 million tonnes worldwide in 2019, Asia produced the most e-waste. Another issue for future e-waste management planning is the rate of acceleration. E-waste is expected to grow by 3-5% year, which is nearly three times faster than other types of waste.

The nature of the waste's transboundary migration is one issue with managing e-waste in poorer nations. Even while domestic use of electronic equipment accounts for a substantial portion of E-waste, a sizable amount of E-waste is also illegally smuggled into developing nations under the pretence of used electrical and electronic equipment. 75�80% of the global e-waste produced was transferred to developing nations, namely those in Asia and Africa.

A fundamental informational tool for e-waste management policy design and planning is the national inventory of e-waste flow. Unfortunately, such an e-waste inventory has not been well documented in many Asian Pacific countries. Nearly 80% of the world's electronic waste flow is not taken into account by official e-waste management systems, and it is believed that a significant amount of e-waste is illegally exchanged, discarded, or repurposed through unofficial channels. One of the most difficult yet crucial tasks in combating environmental hazards from inappropriate e-waste management is unravelling correct e-waste movement.

Due to the harmful materials found in e-waste, improper recycling or informal disposal techniques of e-waste seriously affect the ecosystem. E-waste contains hazardous components that can be recycled, but some outdated techniques, such open burning, can create even more dangerous materials like dioxins and furans. Poor e-waste management techniques pose a number of serious environmental and health dangers, including:
  1. The direct exposure of workers to hazardous materials at recycling or disposal sites, and
  2. Toxins released into the environment.
The hazardous substances and heavy metals generated during e-waste disassembly are exposed to by the personnel at e-waste recycling facilities. Stockpiles of e-waste include a variety of dangerous substances, such as heavy metals and halogenated chemical compounds. The personnel at illicit e-waste recycling facilities frequently lack personal protection equipment since they are often unaware of the presence of these dangerous compounds.

The surroundings of e-waste recycling and dismantle sites are not designed to handle secondary contamination from e-waste, in addition to the poor working conditions.When e-waste is simply dumped without suitable environmental management strategies, the neighbouring soil and groundwater are frequently contaminated.

Through groundwater flow lines, the toxic leachate from e-waste stockpiles can disperse across a large area. E-waste that has been recovered using improper techniques, such as shredding, grinding, or open burning, may generate a variety of air pollutants. In e-waste recycling, emerging pollutants are a problem as well because there is growing evidence of soil degradation brought on by micro-plastics.

Although there have been concerns about e-waste, many nations are still developing their legal and regulatory frameworks for e-waste disposal. 29 of the 46 nations in the Asian region did not have any national e-waste legislation, policy, or regulation as of 2020, according to the United Nations University publication The Global E-waste Monitor 2020. Furthermore, only a few of the 17 nations with legal frameworks in place had fully operational e-waste management systems, and some of the nations still had an official recycling mechanism.

E-waste legislation requires a comprehensive approach to achieve the law's objectives because it cannot be finished in a single text. A thorough assessment is necessary to effectively manage priorities and prevent repetitive mandates that overlap with earlier laws. A well-planned implementation strategy is also necessary to put the law into action. For instance, based on the amount created, many governments implemented collection or recycling targets for e-waste. The per capita collection rate is more practical if it is not based on a solid, well-established national inventory of e-waste.

It takes very thorough procedures to draught e-waste management legislation from draughts through national legislation. The effectiveness of recently established laws may be improved with subsequent amendments or modifications, and many nations, including India, have already undergone such revisions. India began regulating e-waste management in detail by passing the E-Waste Handling and Management Rules (2011), which were then extensively modified to become the E-waste (Management) Rules (2016)12, which were further amended in 201813. The objectives of these changes in India were to gradually broaden the scope of the regulations and strengthen their viability.

Large amounts of e-waste are processed by the informal sector in nations with ineffective frameworks for sustainable e-waste management. The unlawful recycling of e-waste frequently fails to take into account environmental implications and worker safety, further endangering the environment and public health. This is in contrast to the formal recycling sites, which are governed by consistent government governance.

If the informal sector is still actively involved in the overall process of managing e-waste, designing policies and implementing them effectively will be very challenging. Building an effective national e-waste inventory requires a transparent reporting system that places a focus on accurate reporting. As the informal recyclers increase the amount of e-waste they process in an effort to earn more subsidies, over-reporting from this sector has emerged as a problem.

It is well worth the effort to make an effort to welcome informal recyclers for an open dialogue while establishing an acceptable policy framework. In the newly adopted legal recycling industry, ignoring the informal sector could lead to failure due to market rivalry. The supply of e-waste stocks could be destroyed by existing enterprises regulating their prices. Instead, the expertise and network of the informal sectors might be fully utilised with equitable cooperation between official and informal recyclers. Then, a comprehensive e-waste management system may successfully implement a new policy framework for sustainable e-waste management.

E-Waste Composition: More than 1,000 different dangerous and non-toxic compounds can be found in e-waste, which has a complex composition. Electrical and electronic appliance technology is advancing so quickly that new goods swiftly replace older models or render certain electronic equipment redundant, unusable, or nonfunctional, leading to a continuous stream of e-waste production. Refrigerators and other home appliances like cables, lights, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, water heaters, toasters, and irons are examples of electrical e-waste.

TVs, computer monitors, other small consumer electronics like DVD, VCR, CD players, radios, routers, calculators, GPS devices, camcorders, cameras, etc., as well as information and communication products like PCs, mobile phones, printers, fax machines, photocopiers, pen drives, etc., are all included in the waste category dubbed "electronics."

Widmer and Oswald-Krapf estimate that iron, gold, aluminium, and copper make up more than 60% of the overall weight of e-waste, with contaminants (toxic heavy metals and other chemical compounds) making up 2.7% of the total weight. E-waste typically consists of metals, polymers, and refractory oxides, according to Sum. Copper (Cu), iron (Fe), and tin (Sn), among other metals, make up the majority of scrap metal; polycarbonates, polyesters, polyethylene, and polypropylene make up plastic waste; and alumina, silica, barium titanate, potassium, magnesium, and aluminium silicates are the principal oxides.

Global Generation of E-Waste: The primary manufacturers of e-waste are industrialised and wealthy countries. The US produced 3.16 million tonnes of electronic garbage in 2008, making it the highest generator in the world, according to the USEPA. In 2009, 2.37 million tonnes were ready for disposal out of a total of 5 million tonnes, which is a 120% increase from 1999. In 2010, the EU produced 8.9 million tonnes, and that number is expected to rise to 12 million tonnes by 2020 at a pace of 3-5% annually.

The largest and fastest-growing economies, like China and India, are seeing an increase in the generation of e-waste. After the US, China is ranked second and produced 2.3 million tonnes of e-waste in 2010. It is anticipated that China would have a surplus by 2020. In 2011, India produced an additional 400,000 tonnes.

Additionally, the European Union is regarded as one of the major manufacturers of e-waste. The EU generated 8.9 million tonnes of electronic garbage in 2010. This made up 1-3 percent of all MSW in the US, increasing by 16-28% per five years, which is three times as quickly as MSW generation. According to a recent study, the EU produces between 5 and 7 million tonnes of electronic waste annually, or 14 to 15 kg per person, and this amount is predicted to rise by 3 to 5% every year.

A total of 51.37 million metric tonnes (MMT) of e-waste were produced globally in 2012, according to the analysis based on the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) database. China (7.25 MMT) and Japan (2.74 MMT) were the two main contributors to East Asian countries' leading position (22.81%) in both total (11.72 MMT) and per capita (17.07 kg) generation. The remaining parts of Asia also made substantial contributions to the WEEE sources.

In terms of contiguous generation (21.91%) and per capita (21.16 kg), the North American nations of the USA (9.36 MMT), Canada (0.86 MMT), and Mexico (1.03 MMT) came in second. Europe as a whole produced 13.71 MMT, or 26.70% of the global total, with an average per person production of 17.45 kg.Africa and Oceania made relatively tiny contributions, and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) made a lesser overall and per-capita contribution.

Market Study (Bangladesh): Due to its rapid economic development, Bangladesh is a suitable contender to create a sustainable e-waste management system. Bangladesh made significant investments in information and communication technology, as indicated in Bangladesh Vision 2021, and in recent years, its yearly economic growth rates have exceeded 5%. The middle class's rising purchasing power in Bangladesh created a sizable market for electrical and electronic goods, in which some 160 million customers engaged.

However, the booming economy in recent years has also brought forth problems for society. The issues with e-waste have grown to be a serious environmental concern. Because of the high ambient concentrations of Pb, Cd, and Cr, the centre for Environmental and Resource Management (CERM) at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) revealed that workers in unauthorised e-waste recycling facilities have a high risk of developing cancer.

The employees are ignorant of the dangers posed by toxins discharged during e-waste dismantling. E-waste heaps are typically kept in an open space with personnel without access to sufficient personal protective equipment.

A critical first step towards Bangladesh's sustainable development is the establishment of a successful e-waste management system. Hazardous Waste (E-waste) Management Rules is a proposed legal document that is currently being developed by the Bangladesh Department of Environment. Extended producer responsibility, which is discussed in Section IV, was taken into consideration when the regulations were being created. To achieve the objectives of the financial mechanisms for the regulations, strategic thinking is required.

Market Study (South Asia): Economic growth in South Asian nations has accelerated daily technical and industrial developments. As a result of the importation of electronic devices that improve lifestyle, more e-waste has also been produced. According to Shahriar, Bangladesh produces 2.8 million tonnes of electronic garbage annually, of which 2.5 million tonnes come from ship-breaking yards.

According to reports, there were 500,000 PCs in use in 2004. The number is growing at a pace of 11% annually for PCs, and at a rate of 100% for mobile phones. Therefore, 15,323 and 10,504 tonnes of electronic garbage were produced by PCs and mobile phones, respectively, which could be the origins of the 30,646 tonnes of electronic waste produced in 2013.

Additionally, India produces e-waste and imports it from developed nations. India is regarded as the second-largest country in the world for processing e-waste, 70% of which comes from abroad. It produces between 146,000 and 330,000 tonnes of e-waste year, and according to projections, this amount will increase to 4,700,000 tonnes by 2011 at a projected growth rate of 34% annually. Additionally, there are 500,000 or so mobile phones in Sri Lanka, which adds to the country's potential annual production of 60�65 tonnes of e-waste.

India produced the most e-waste (2.75 MMT) among South Asian nations in 2012, according to the StEP database, which is a regional database. Bangladesh produced 0.18 MMT, whereas Pakistan produced 0.30 MMT. The Maldives were determined to be the lowest producer of e-waste (1690 MT), followed by Bhutan (2821 MT).

The Maldives, on the other side, produced the most e-waste per person in this region, although having the lowest overall volume (5.11 kg). Sri Lanka came in third with 3.57 kg, followed by Bhutan in second with 3.79 kg. In addition, compared to their overall generation, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh each produced 2.25, 1.68, and 1.19 kg per person, respectively. Nepal and Afghanistan produced relatively little e-waste, 0.76 and 0.58 kg per person, respectively, and generated 0.023 and 0.018 MMT, respectively.

Impact of E-Waste:
Many of the metals found in electrical and electronic products are harmful to both people and ecosystems. These various metal ions make up more than 60% of electronic waste, yet just 2.7% of it contains dangerous metals. Because these wastes contain dangerous compounds such aluminium (Al), arsenic (As), bismuth (Bi), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), and antimony, efficient management (collection, storage, recycling, and disposal) of these wastes is crucial (Sb).

Additionally, the combustion of these e-wastes releases gases that may have an impact on some or all bio-physical environments, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), poly-brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) (soil, atmosphere, aquatic).

As a result, these discharges have a negative impact on the environment and harm people's health. Brigden and Labunska discovered that PBDEs and PBDD/Fs contaminate the nearby soil, air, and water, decreasing water quality and fertility while also serving as neuro-toxicants and endocrine disruptors in newborns and young children. Through the ecological food chain, these harmful chemical substances and persistent organic pollutants (POP) have a negative impact on ecosystems and human health.

The effects of bioaccumulation on human health, particularly in pregnant and nursing women, are caused by PBCs, BFRs, and other chemical components that are present in the food chain. Additionally, they alter the endocrine system, which has an impact on genotoxicity, the neurological system, and pre- and postnatal development. Deoxyribonucleic acid's methylation state may be changed by dioxins (DNA). Along with producing hormonal effects by way of BFRs and thyroid-disrupting effects in developmental life phases, they also alter the serum levels of mothers and infants and pose a risk to maternal health as well as to the growth and development of children.

In South Asian nations experiencing rapid economic growth, lifestyle changes, and socio-technical transition and transformation, the negative effects of e-waste on people and ecosystems are equally important, in stark contrast to their utter absence of efficient waste management technologies. For instance, about 20% to 30% of the 3.2 MT of electronic waste that is produced each year in Bangladesh is recycled; the remainder is disposed of in landfills. In Dhaka, the informal e-waste trade chain employs roughly 120,000 urban poor people, 50,000 of whom are children.

According to a research by the Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO), 83% of the illegal child labourers in this industry were found to have long-term health issues, and 15% of them died because Bangladesh lacked a reliable e-waste treatment infrastructure. In addition, Chowdhury et al. discovered that 64% of 1,000 women in Bangladesh's Sylhet district who lived close to informal recycling sites had hearing or visual issues in addition to 36.3% of them having stillbirths. More than 1 million underprivileged people in India work with e-waste. In addition to these figures, 50,000 tonnes of e-waste are disposed of in landfills each year, contaminating the Lyari and Arabian Seas and harming marine habitats in the process.

Context of E-Waste Management Associated With SDG: Whenever the e-wastes are disposed of improperly in any landfills or in any other non-dumping sites, its disposal poses a threat to the environment as it pollutes the eco system and also cause significant damage to the human health. Improper disposal of the electric products means there will be a release of toxic chemicals which will directly pollute the environment as it will get mixed in the air, soil, water and etc.

When the e-wastes are not properly dismantled, shredded or melted, then it releases the harmful chemicals in form of dusts and it finally contaminates the air, causing air pollution and affecting the human health and causes respiratory problems or threats of cancer. The harmful air affected by these e-wastes are usually handled manually by human beings, and these airs also affects their lives as well their family members. The polluted air not only have impacts on human lives but also significantly causes harms to the animal lives.

Similarly when the produced e-wastes are improperly disposed of in any ordinary landfills or illegally buried, heavy metals gets buried directly into the soil, contaminating the soil as well as the underlying groundwater and the crops that may grow nearby or in the region in the future. When heavy metals pollutes the soil, the crops, which are supposed to grow in that area or nearby, those crops become sensitive to absorbing these pollutants and it can cause a variety of ailments and reduce farming productivity in those areas.

Because of their size and weight, big particles produced after burning, shredding, or disassembling e-waste quickly re-deposit to the ground and pollute the soil. Also the acidification has the potential to kill both marine and freshwater creatures, disrupt biodiversity, and destroy ecosystems. Toxic components in electronic wastes includes mercury, lead, cadmium, barium, and lithium, all of which are hazardous to human health.

Toxins have harmful health impacts on humans include damage to the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and skeletal system. It can also have a significant impact on the neurological and reproductive systems of the human body, resulting in sickness and birth abnormalities.

Methods In Managing And Making E-Waste An Opportunity: A significant amount of embodied energy is used in the creation of these devices and the use of rare materials. Reducing our use of resources and energy from the world by minimising e-waste is beneficial.

It would save as much energy to recycle the precious metals and polymers from obsolete cell phones alone as opposed to producing or mining more of them, which is equivalent to turning off the electricity to 24,000 US homes for a year. The average American home has 24 electronic gadgets, and according to an EPA estimate from 2009, there are 2.37 million tonnes of electronics that are ready for disposal. Nearly five football stadiums would be filled by this!

Following are the points with explanations:
  • Re-evaluate: This means that the user has to determine the need of the electronic gadget in the current situation. In case the user finds out that it's no more needed then, try to minimise the use by recycling it in proper way as if it's recycled in an improper manner, it could cause degradation of the environment.
  • Extend the life of your electronics: Life of electronic goods could be improved by following the methods that have been mentioned by the manufacturer. Following the instructions could enhance the life.
  • Purchasing environment friendly electronics: Environment friendly products are those which have energy start sticker. More the energy star, more environment friendly will be the product.
  • Donating used electronic gadgets for social purposes: Donating could assist in reducing e-waste to a large extent, as things which are no more of use could be a use to someone else.
  • Reusing large electronic products: Large electronic products like washing machine, air conditioner, television, can be used for some other purposes like using your washing machine outer cover as a barbecue or a griller. This can assist you in reducing your cost to a large extent.
  • Recycling batteries and electronics in e-waste recycling bins: Batteries should be reused in a proper manner, like using it for experimental purposes in Physics lab. Alongside, electronics should be dumped in e-waste bins only, as electronic goods should be recycled in a different manner as compared to other wastes.
  • Discussion: Global e-waste production has increased overall and per person as a result of socioeconomic progress. Due to the dangerous chemicals they contain, the complex recycling procedures they require, the high overhead costs associated with environmentally appropriate management, as well as their detrimental effects on human health, these items provide a serious global challenge.

Despite the fact that high-income nations are the primary producers of this trash, e-waste is increasing in low-income nations due to the moving of both new and used electric and electronic equipment (UEEE), as well as low management overhead costs. As a result, they are most affected by harmful health risks and ecological degradation, which makes it harder for them to accomplish their goals for sustainable development.

Through the integration of societal, economic, environmental, technological, cultural, and gender perspectives, the international community has come together to prioritise sustainability for all developmental initiatives. While a result, this global convergence has been striving to prevent the environment from degrading as living standards rise. In this sense, cooperation and multilateral agreements are essential to the foundation of sustainable development.

The most promising programmes to achieve long-term sustainability are those that continue to place a focus on e-waste management as well as other critical environmental challenges including climate change, resource depletion, and degradation. Rapid socio-technical advancements and a shift in lifestyles are the results of contemporary global economic development. As a result, a lot of electrical and electronic appliances are being made, which will eventually turn into e-waste.

Due to the dangerous chemicals they contain, the complex recycling procedures they require, the high overhead costs associated with environmentally appropriate management, as well as their detrimental effects on human health, these items provide a serious global challenge. Negative health risks such asthmatic bronchitis, DNA damage, endocrine and hormone disorders, lung and liver malignancies, fertility issues, genetic mutations, etc. are most prevalent in low-income countries.

Despite the fact that high-income nations are the primary producers of this garbage, low-income nations are seeing a growth in e-waste as a result of the transition of recently created and UEEE as well as low management overhead costs. For instance, India, which is currently the second-largest country processing e-waste, both produces its own waste and imports waste from high-income nations. Additionally, Bangladesh imports 2.2 million tonnes of UEEE per year. The amount of demand has been rising every day due to affordability and necessity.

Unquestionably, new and UEEE imports contribute significantly to the development of these regions' industries and economies. However, as the eventual recipients of e-waste, low-income nations like Bangladesh, China, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and the Philippines are also where it is dumped. Additionally, low cost e-waste recycling, such that for a computer, which can cost up to $20 in the US but less than $2 in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, is ultimately making things worse.

In low-income nations, it is exceedingly challenging to put into practise techniques for handling, recycling, recovery, dumping, or general management of e-waste that are sustainable and environmentally sound. South Asian nations have attempted to regulate and import UEEE, however they do not yet have any effective legislation or regulations in place for the proper treatment of e-waste.

With the exception of Bhutan (Waste Prevention and Management Act, 2009) and India (Electronic Waste Handling and Disposal) Draft Law, 2013, E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, and Management of E-Waste, Guidelines, 2008), none of the other affected nations-Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, or Afghanistan-have introduced similar legislation.

Among the countries that produce e-waste, Bangladesh is categorised as underdeveloped since they lack an inventory of their e-waste and have not established their recycling and disposal systems. Similar to other countries, Pakistan has no accurate information or inventory on e-waste, and only a very small portion of imported UEEE is useful and designated as "trash" by customs.

The development of a policy framework for ethical e-waste management is taken into account. Due to a number of factors, including significant e-waste generation in the absence of a reliable national inventory, environmental and health risks, a lack of regulatory preparation, and ongoing involvement of the informal sectors, the Asia Pacific region is currently facing complex e-waste challenges. Many of the SDGs are closely related to these socioeconomic problems.

The SDGs 3 and 8 on health and the economy, 6 and 11 on environmental sustainability, and 12 on issues requiring international cooperation highlight the importance of this relationship (SDG17). The invention of EPR was one of the major contributions to the success of many nations in managing their e-waste. The Asia Pacific states can benefit much from learning from successful instances of EPR implementation from other nations.

This policy brief also recommends implementing a pre-EPR system, or a revised EPR scheme, before committing to a full-fledged EPR system. Countries have a better chance of establishing e-waste management by creating a pre-EPR system that takes into account the distinctive regional socioeconomic backgrounds and characteristics.

The region will be better equipped to protect the environment as a result, and its potential for sustainable resource recovery will be increased. Such advancements are possible in conjunction with identifying recycling goals, forging alliances or partnerships, developing stakeholder mandate requirements, and carrying out a demonstration project.

Through the incorporation of societal, economic, environmental, technological, cultural, and gender aspects, sustainability is given priority for all development initiatives. An urgent global multilateral agreement is required to address e-waste management (i.e., handling, storage, transportation, recycling, and final disposal), whether by land filling or incineration, given the negative potential eco-toxicological repercussions and various health effects.

Due to the issue's worldwide scope and the challenge of developing environmentally sound and sustainable e-waste processing in low-income nations, international negotiation and collaboration are the only viable options. Additionally, comprehensive global e-waste management and legislation are the best strategy for achieving sustainable development and could help to mitigate the risks of e-waste.

One of the main environmental issues and obstacles to attaining sustainable development is the rising global trend of e-waste generation. An urgent global multilateral agreement is required to address the treatment, storage, transportation, recycling, and final disposal of any leftover trash, whether by land filling or burning, of e-waste, given its potentially harmful ecotoxicological consequences and wide range of health implications.

From the standpoint of pollutant generation and transportation, it is a worldwide issue, making international collaboration and negotiation the only practical means of achieving sustainable development goals. Insecure nations, like those in South Asia's developing nations, require official consecutive inventory initiatives.

Additionally, it's important to create health prevention measures that target e-waste and target vulnerable populations including children, expectant mothers, and socioeconomically underprivileged areas. The existence of knowledge gaps and the necessity for awareness training from the top to the bottom levels must also be identified. Implementing policies could incorporate sustainable management practises with a knowledge and awareness-building emphasis.

In addition, collaboration in the fields of business, the environment, and technology might be strengthened between high-income nations that produce and supply e-waste and those who suffer from its negative effects, particularly low-income nations. The ideal strategy for attaining sustainable development is to implement comprehensive global e-waste management and legislation, which could help to mitigate the dangers of e-waste.

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