UN warns of growing electronic waste mountains

UN warning on electronic waste, with the problem only likely to get worse in developing countries

The UN has issued a stark warning that the world could face mountains of electronic waste in the coming decade.

Electronic waste – or e-waste for short – is one of the UN Environment Programme's most pressing problems right now, with the UN claiming that e-waste in China and South Africa could quadruple within the next decade and India may even face a five-fold increase in the amount of waste it has to try to process.

The real problem lies in the unregulated 'recycling' of used TVs, computers and electronic equipment.

Dumping grounds

Electronic waste currently totals around 40 million tons a year worldwide according to the UN report. China produces 2.6 million tons and the United States tops the chart with 3.3 million tons.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "The world is now confronted with a massive wave of electronic waste that is going to come back and hit us, particularly for least-developed countries, that may become a dumping ground."

A particular problem in India is waste from old refrigerators that contain hazardous chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbon gases and which could triple by 2020.

Via The Telegraph