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Urgent need to prepare developing countries for surge in e-wastes: UN
Date:2/22/2010

ustrial facilities.

"This report gives new urgency to establishing ambitious, formal and regulated processes for collecting and managing e-waste via the setting up of large, efficient facilities in China," says UN Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. "China is not alone in facing a serious challenge. India, Brazil, Mexico and others may also face rising environmental damage and health problems if e-waste recycling is left to the vagaries of the informal sector.

"In addition to curbing health problems, boosting developing country e-waste recycling rates can have the potential to generate decent employment, cut greenhouse gas emissions and recover a wide range of valuable metals including silver, gold, palladium, copper and indium -- by acting now and planning forward many countries can turn an e-challenge into an e-opportunity," he added.

The report was issued at the Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions on enhancing their cooperation and coordination (ExCOP).

It was co-authored by the Swiss EMPA, Umicore and United Nations University (UNU), part of the global think tank StEP (Solving the E-waste Problem), which includes UNEP and Basel Convention Secretariat among its 50+ members. Hosted by UNU in Bonn, Germany, the think tank convenes experts from industry, government, international organizations, NGOs and science. A grant from the European Commission, Directorate-General for the Environment, funded the report's preparation.

The report cites a variety of sources to illustrate growth of the e-waste problem:

  • Global e-waste generation is growing by about 40 million tons a year

  • Manufacturing mobile phones and personal computers consumes 3 per cent of the gold and silver mined worldwide each year; 13 per cent of the palladium and 15 per cent of cobalt

  • Modern electron
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
United Nations University
Source:Eurekalert  

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