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Global E-Waste Generation Rising 5 Times Faster Than Recycling: UN Report

62 million tonnes of e-waste produced in 2022 would fill around 1.55 million 40-tonne trucks, equivalent to encircling the equator with trucks bumper-to-bumper, stated the UN report

Global E-Waste Generation Rising 5 Times Faster Than Recycling: UN Report
E-waste is defined as any discarded product with a plug or battery

New Delhi: The world’s electronic waste generation is increasing five times faster than documented e-waste recycling, according to the United Nation’s fourth Global E-waste Monitor (GEM) report released on Wednesday (March 20). According to the report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the 62 million tonnes of e-waste produced in 2022 would fill around 1.55 million 40-tonne trucks, equivalent to encircling the equator with trucks bumper-to-bumper.

Also Read: Why E-Waste Management Is Important And How It Can Be Done

However, a mere 22.3 per cent of the year’s e-waste mass was properly collected and recycled in 2022, leaving USD 62 billion worth of recoverable natural resources unaccounted for and heightening pollution risks globally.

E-waste recycling currently meets just 1 per cent of rare earth element demand, the report said, highlighting a significant gap in resource recovery.

It projected a steady increase in annual e-waste generation, rising by 2.6 million tonnes each year and expected to reach 82 million tonnes by 2030, a 33 per cent surge from the 2022 figure.

E-waste, defined as any discarded product with a plug or battery, poses health and environmental hazards due to its toxic additives and hazardous substances like mercury, which can adversely affect human health.

In 2022, the e-waste generated contained a staggering 31 billion kg of metals, 17 billion kg of plastics, and 14 billion kg of other materials.

Also Read: Jaipur-Based Artist Recycles E-Waste From Banks Into 10-Feet-Tall Statue

The report projected a decline in the documented collection and recycling rate — from 22.3 per cent in 2022 to 20 per cent by 2030 — exacerbating the gap between recycling efforts and e-waste generation.

The widening gap is attributed to various challenges, including technological advancements, increased consumption, limited repair options, shorter product life cycles, society’s growing dependence on electronics, design flaws, and inadequate e-waste management infrastructure.

The report said that if countries could bring the e-waste collection and recycling rates to 60 per cent by 2030, the benefits – including through minimizing human health risks – would exceed costs by more than USD 38 billion.

“The Global E-waste Monitor shows that we are currently wasting USD 91 billion in valuable metals due to insufficient e-waste recycling. We must seize the economic and environmental benefits of proper e-waste management; otherwise, the digital ambitions of our future generations will face significant risks,” said Vanessa Gray, Head, Environment and Emergency Telecommunications Division, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau.

Also Read: 21-Year-Old Student From Assam Is Creating Art Through E-Waste

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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