The increase in electronic usage and production over the last several decades has led to an escalating electronic waste problem. With our environment gaining more and more attention every day, more organizations are pointing to e-waste and ways to educate people about the problem.
To this end, the United Nations University has founded a “summer school” devoted to informing its attendees about the perils of electronic waste. The hope among directors is not only to provide facts about the issues, but to facilitate a network of activists seeking change. Backed by representatives of 18 countries, most of whom are students, the so-called “E-Waste Academy” is intended to be an annual summertime affair, the first of which took place in Ghana.
The event’s organization was headed by the Dutch Association for the Disposal of Metal and Electrical Products (NVMP), the multinational Belgian company Umicore N.V., and Phillips Global. Officials of these groups, like head of NVMP’s Research and Development department André Habets, are aiming to cultivate a forum where “real solutions” can be proposed, discussed, and put into action.
Such improvement on current policies is crucial. Many developing countries are currently drowning in landfills packed with our first world electronic waste – causing immense harmful impacts on those countries’ environments.
The U.N. University’s objective is to expand knowledge and awareness regarding the issue. In every country in the world, a mere 10-15% of gold from electronic and electrical waste is salvaged. The remaining gold, constituting up to hundreds of tons a year, is simply abandoned in landfills. Authorities say these landfills are up to 50 times richer in precious materials than mines.
The experts educating U.N. students, policy-makers, and citizens know that better recycling and waste management programs are necessary. Of course, such programs will lessen – and hopefully eventually eliminate – the amount of harmful e-waste deposited in suffering countries. They also hold the promise of bettering the world’s environment and economy as we recover more materials and let less go to waste. Everyone can help contribute to solving the world’s electronic waste problem. Instead of throwing your electronic waste and scrap electronics in the garbage, send them in to Cash for Electronic Scrap USA to be recycled!