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Waste not, want not

  • Published at 05:30 pm October 20th, 2018
Television mobiles e waste
Photo: MEHEDI HASAN

Electrical waste also contains hazardous substances such as mercury and lead

With Bangladesh producing around 400,000 metric tons of electrical waste every year, it is a shame that most of it is neither recycled nor disposed of appropriately. 

Given the government’s commitment to the promise of Digital Bangladesh, the amount of e-waste being produced every year has been rising at an alarming rate of 20% every year, as the use of electronic goods such as mobile phones, computers, televisions, etc have continued to increase exponentially. 

What is unfortunate is that e-waste contains precious metals such as gold, silver, copper, and iron, which can be recycled and reused.

But that is not all. 

Electrical waste also contains hazardous substances such as mercury and lead which, if not disposed of properly, will wreak havoc on our environment and our lives. 

As of right now, the most common method of disposal remains archaic and outmoded, which essentially involves putting all of it together in a pile and burning it, releasing toxic fumes into the air. 

This sort of negligent behaviour persists despite the fact that Bangladesh has already suffered as a result of the effects of climate change and ignorant waste management practices, as air pollution chokes the life out of us, and our rivers lie dead due to industrial dumping. 

The situation, as it stands, could have been prevented, as the Department of Environment had prepared a draft regulation seven years ago to properly manage and dictate how e-waste would be handled.

Unfortunately, the regulation has yet to see the light of day. 

However, there are plans currently in place for a new draft law to be signed. It is crucial that this be prioritized, and the rules properly implemented. 

How much of our natural eco-system must be destroyed before the waste we produce, electronic or otherwise, is properly managed and disposed? How much more air must be polluted, how many more rivers must die before we learn our lesson?