Author: Paul Ploumis13 May 2015 Last updated at 03:10:21 GMT
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The report released yesterday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) states that nearly 60% to 90% of the world’s electronic waste are traded or dumped illegally. Estimating the price per tonne of e-waste at around $500, the total value of illegally dumped or traded e-waste amounts to approximately $19 billion.
According to UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, unprecedented amount of electronic waste is being rolled out all over the world. The growing global e-waste poses growing threat to human health and environment.
Currently, Europe and North America are the largest producers of e-waste. Asian cities are not far behind. As per rule, European Union (EU) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries are not allowed to export hazardous waste to non-OECD countries. However, large piles of electronic waste are falsely declared as plastic or mixed metal scrap. The illegally exported items include hazardous waste batteries, CRTs and computer monitors.
The key destinations for hazardous electronic waste are Africa and Asia, where they are either dumped or recycled. Ghana and Nigeria tops the list of largest recipients of e-waste in West Africa. Large volumes of e-waste are also dumped to countries such as Cote d'Ivoire and the Republic of Congo. Among Asian countries, China, Hong Kong, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam are identified as the fastest growing e-waste hubs.
The UNEP report states that inconsistency in regulations between importing and exporting countries and lack of clarity in classification of hazardous and non-hazardous waste are the key drivers behind increased illegal e-waste trade.