Agen­cies join forces to com­bat e-waste

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

GENEVA — In a world full of dig­i­tal and high-tech de­vices, United Na­tions agen­cies are start­ing to work to­gether to track and help deal with a soar­ing amount of elec­tronic wastes world­wide, the In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union said on Wed­nes­day.

As tech­nolo­gies change at great speed, and as ac­cess to and use of elec­tri­cal and elec­tronic equip­ment in­creases, the prod­ucts’ life cy­cles have be­come shorter and many de­signs do not sup­port re­pair or re­use. As a re­sult, the amount of elec­tronic waste, or e-waste, is grow­ing rapidly.

Most e-waste has not been prop­erly doc­u­mented or treated through ap­pro­pri­ate re­cy­cling chains and meth­ods.

Ac­cord­ing to the UN En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gram, up to 50 mil­lion tons of elec­tronic waste is ex­pected to be dumped this year, a 20 per­cent in­crease from 2015.

In light of the fact that re­spon­si­ble dis­posal of those de­vices re­mains a chal­lenge for many coun­tries, the ITS, the United Na­tions Univer­sity, and the In­ter­na­tional Solid Waste As­so­ci­a­tion have formed the Global e-Waste Sta­tis­tics Part­ner­ship to im­prove and col­lect world­wide e-waste data.

Such part­ner­ship will sup­port coun­tries to pro­duce re­li­able and com­pa­ra­ble e-waste sta­tis­tics, and will also de­liver ca­pac­ity build­ing work­shops and raise vis­i­bil­ity on the im­por­tance of track­ing and man­ag­ing e-waste.

“ITS has a track record of pro­vid­ing the world with the most re­li­able and trust­wor­thy ICC-re­lated data,” said ITS Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Hour Zhao.

“We are pleased to be part of this part­ner­ship and to lend our ex­per­tise and our long standing ex­pe­ri­ence in data col­lec­tion to as­sist coun­tries to track and mea­sure their e-waste, so that re­spon­si­ble e-waste man­age­ment can be im­ple­mented.”

Im­por­tant step

Mea­sur­ing e-waste is an im­por­tant step to­ward tack­ling it, as the sta­tis­tics help to eval­u­ate de­vel­op­ment over time, set and as­sess tar­gets, and also iden­tify best prac­tices of poli­cies.

Bet­ter e-waste data also helps min­i­mize its gen­er­a­tion, pre­vent il­le­gal dump­ing, pro­mote re­cy­cling, and cre­ate jobs in re­use, re­fur­bish­ment and re­cy­cling sec­tors, which will con­trib­ute to the achieve­ment of the UN Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, in par­tic­u­lar, to en­sur­ing “sus­tain­able con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion pat­terns”.

“Bet­ter sta­tis­tics will in­form pol­i­cy­mak­ing to min­i­mize the gen­er­a­tion of e-waste, pre­vent il­le­gal dump­ing, pro­mote re­cy­cling and cre­ate valu­able jobs in the re­use, re­fur­bish­ment and re­cy­cling sec­tors,” said Brahma Sand, Di­rec­tor of ITS Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion De­vel­op­ment Bureau.

“This will also con­trib­ute to achieve­ment of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goal 12, which seeks to en­sure sus­tain­able con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion pat­terns,” he added.

Amount of elec­tronic waste ex­pected to be dumped this year, up 20 per­cent from 2015.

JOSHUA ROBERTS/ REUTERS

Chil­dren play in a foun­tain dur­ing a heat wave in Wash­ing­ton, US, on Wed­nes­day.

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