E-waste levels in Asia continue to rise
Do you buy new smartphones every time there’s a new release? What happens to your former device? If you’re just going to throw it away, think twice.
In the last 5 years, discarded electronics or e-waste surged by 63% in East and Southeast Asia and that includes the Philippines. It continues to climb as individual incomes rise and high demand for new gadgets and appliances drives it further.
According to a report by the United Nation’s University, e-waste jumped by almost two-thirds and totaled 12.3 million tons or about 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The average e-waste generation per capita in the region was approximately 10 kg in 2015. Topping the list is Hong Kong (21.7 kg), followed by Singapore (19.95 kg) and Taiwan (19.13 kg). The Philippines, however, is far behind from these developed nations at 1.35kg.
What factors contribute to this increasing e-waste disposal volume? UN University listed four: (1) escalating number of gadgets released, (2) more consumers being able to afford such devices, (3) decreased life-span of gadgets, and (4) globalization of gadget trends.
Here in the Philippines, we can’t deny that a number of Filipinos now have access to cheaper smartphones, PCs, and other devices. Competition of numerous local brands keeps it healthy but, when things get out of hand, our e-waste will have a great impact on our environment.
We do have a guideline for e-waste disposal but proper segregation of common waste is not even properly enforced by the local government and garbage collectors. What more of these devices, especially the old ones, that may contain hazardous chemicals? We’re also a legal dump site of e-waste from other countries on top of that.