We’ve written extensively in the past few months about how the issue of eWaste is becoming getting worse by the day. But how does eWaste actually affect us?

Environmental Toxicity

When people throw electronic items away through landfills they often end up in developing countries. The extraction of precious metals and valuable parts from discarded eWaste has become a source of income for many in poverty.

However, the people who live there are particularly likely to come in to contact with toxic eWaste elements.

Statistics say upwards of 85 percent of all electronics are sent to landfills or put into industrial incinerators. This means that a huge number of people are at risk of being poisoned by outdated technology.

Lead

Statistics indicate 40 percent of the lead found in landfills comes from eWaste.

The lead that has seeped into the environment harms humans and other living things, including plants and animals. Lead can also leak into water, causing potentially fatal effects for the fish that live in it and the animals that drink it.

Humans have some element of control over reducing our lead exposure. However, other animals cannot and are, therefore, at high risk.

Precious Metal Mining

Dirty gold mining has ravaged landscapes, contaminated water supplies, and contributed to the destruction of vital ecosystems. Substances such as cyanide and mercury are released into the environment as a result of it.

To limit the environmental damage, mines often construct dams and place the toxic waste inside. However, these dams do not necessarily prevent contamination of the surrounding environment. Toxic waste can easily seep into soil and groundwater.

At the world’s estimated 3,500 dams built to hold mine waste, one or two major spills occur every year.

What can we do?

eWaste is a big problem, but it’s one we can all conquer through seemingly small but ultimately powerful actions. An important place to start is with the responsible disposal of old or unwanted computer hardware. If you’d like to chat to someone at Tier 1 about how we can help, please call us on 0161 777 1000.

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