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Over 5 billion phones to turn to waste in 2022, group says


A group warns that over 5 billion mobile phones will be thrown away in 2022.
File photo: Aqua S10 Pro

The problem of "e-waste"

BBC said in its report that the international waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) forum said that 5.3 billion phones will become waste this year. This estimate highlights the growing environmental problem of e-waste, it noted.

People tend not to realize that all these seemingly insignificant items have a lot of value and together at a global level represent massive volumes, WEEE director general Pascal Leroy said.

Based on an AFP report published on Philstar, these devices would rise up to 50,000 kilometers if stacked, which is more than a hundred times higher than the International Space Station.

Despite containing components like gold, copper, silver, and palladium, these phones will be hoarded, dumped, or incinerated which could cause health and environmental harm.

Smartphones are one of the electronic products of highest concern for us, Leroy said. “If we don't recycle the rare materials they contain, we'll have to mine them in countries like China or Congo.

BBC noted there are about 16 million mobile phones across the world.

Furthermore, WEEE research also showed that electrical and electronic waste from devices like washing machines, toasters, tablet computers, and global positioning system (GPS) devices will grow to 74 million tonnes annually by 2030.

These devices offer many important resources that can be used in the production of new electronic devices or other equipment, such as wind turbines, electric car batteries, or solar panels - all crucial for the green, digital transition to low-carbon societies, WEEE's Magdalena Charytanowicz pointed out.

Currently, only around 17 percent of the world's e-waste is properly recycled. The United Nations International Telecommunication Union has set a target to raise this to 30% by next year.

Leroy also suggested ways to encourage people to help address the problem, like setting up collection boxes in supermarkets, offering pick-up services to collect broken appliances upon delivery of new ones, and offering post office boxes to return small e-wastes.

What do you think about this?

Source: BBC, Philstar
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