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World should tackle problem of e-waste
In this era of technology, electronic waste (e-waste) management is an issue that could be ignored only at humanity’s own peril.

Reckless processing of e-waste could undeniably lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, once told journalists that the “tsunami of e-waste rolling out over the world” not only accounted for a large portion of the world’s non-recyclable “waste mountain” but also needed dealing with because many elements found in electronic equipment are potentially hazardous to people and the environment.

Unsafe recycling of e-waste is associated with a slew of health problems for workers and communities near recycling operations.

They supposedly include infertility, childhood development problems, impaired lung function, liver and kidney damage, inheritable genetic damage and mental health problems.

On average, a UAE resident is said to produce 17.2 kilogrammes of e-waste every year. In 2015, this amounted to nearly 600,000 tonnes in the region.

Thankfully, the UAE takes the issue of environment protection seriously and deserves kudos for its relentless efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals in various fields, through which it looks to position itself among the world’s best countries by 2021.

Many activities are undertaken to tackle serious environmental challenges. For example, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Science Park partnered recently with Uber and Averda in a campaign to prevent e-waste from entering landfills, avoiding the risk of soil and ground water contamination through compounds and chemicals typically contained in electronic waste.

Uber carried out 60 collection rides, which is six times more than the previous year, resulting in the disposal of nearly two tonnes of retired electronics within an 18-hour window.

Enviroserve UAE, which delivers niche waste and environmental solutions, has also signed an agreement with Dubai Wholesale City for the construction of a 228,000 sq. ft. electronics and specialised waste recycling plant at Dubai Industrial Park.

Backed by the Swiss Government Export Finance Agency, the Dhs120 million project represents one of the largest foreign direct investments in the field of environmental management in the UAE. The facility will serve as the region’s largest centre of expertise for electronic waste management in the Middle East.

The UAE has adopted a series of policies concerning clean energy, green architecture, sustainable transport and waste management, which includes e-waste.

It is imperative that nations across the globe improve recycling and disposal methods of e-waste.

Safe disposal should become the norm.

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