By The Editors
In one of our previous posts (Electronic Waste and the Global Toxic Trade) we said “As technology changes come by very rapidly in great acceleration-style, the amount of obsolete and discarded high tech material also grows, great acceleration-style, around the world.”
Now, data compiled by “Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative“, a partnership of UN organizations, industry, governments, non-government and science organizations, provide a staggering forecast of how rapidly electronic waste is accumulating globally – by 2017, we can expect an increase of 33%, up to one-third to 65.4 million tons.
The escalating e-waste problem is graphically shown in a first-of-its-kind StEP E-Waste World Map, available online at http://www.step-initiative.org/index.php/WorldMap.html. This unique interactive map presents annual data from 184 countries, showing the estimated amount of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market and the resulting generation of e-waste. If you click on a continent and a country, you can see an overview of the country’s e-waste statistics, as well as any rules that country has to regulate the disposal of e-waste.
The map shows that almost 48.9 million metric tons of used electrical and electronic products was produced last year — an average of 7 kg for each of the world’s 7 billion people.
“Although there is ample information about the negative environmental and health impacts of primitive e-waste recycling methods, the lack of comprehensive data has made it hard to grasp the full magnitude of the problem,” says Ruediger Kuehr of United Nations University and Executive Secretary of the StEP Initiative, “We believe that this constantly updated, map-linked database showing e-waste volume by country together with legal texts will help lead to better awareness and policy making at the public and private levels.”