Wrecking our plant

Bradley Moench, Staff Writer

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Electronic waste is slowly becoming one of the biggest pollutants on Earth and one of the most environmentally problematic pollutants at that. Even the process to recycle e-waste, emits air pollutants that can create photochemical smog and acid rain and cause more damage to the environment. Not only that, but due to the amounts of lead and mercury in e-waste many people have been poisoned by it, had respiratory or digestive issues, and have even been killed due to poisons released by e-waste.

In the U.S. and other 1st world countries, e-waste is illegally dumped or shipped to poor countries for recycling. E-waste recycling can be a huge job market for many people in countries all over the world but at what costs? The people exposed to this toxic e-waste dumping have experienced serious chemical problems and respiratory/digestive issues and the mercury spilled out can poison drinking water or livestock within surrounding e-waste dump areas. The U.N. says 90% of e-waste is illegals dumped and only a fraction of that waste is recycled and only a fraction of that is recycled cleanly without releasing large amounts of pollutants in the process.

Although the long term effects of e-waste on our planet is unknown, with the large amount of space it takes up and the chemicals it releases whether or not it’s recycled, it is becoming a problem. Before the end of the century, e-waste will undoubtedly become one of the biggest environmental issues and will pose a threat to the healthiness of the Earth. Even through recycling, cancerous gases are released and other pollutants creating even more pollution in order to try and reuse electronics found in e-waste.

Currently, nearly every country has no laws about the safety, removal, recycling, or storage of e-waste. This is causing more and more pollution, incorrect and unhealthy recycling, and the poisoning of humans, livestock, and contamination of drinking water due to the mercury and lead expelled from e-waste. If no action is to take place to stop or limit e-waste pollution, within the next century it may become the number one pollutant in the word.