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Urgent need to prepare developing countries for surge in e-wastes: UN

ics contain up to 60 different elements -- many valuable, some hazardous, and some both

  • Carbon dioxide emissions from the mining and production of copper and precious and rare metals used in electrical and electronic equipment are estimated at over 23 million tonnes 0.1 percent of global emissions (not including emissions linked to steel, nickel or aluminum, nor those linked to manufacturing the devices)

  • In the US, more than 150 million mobiles and pagers were sold in 2008, up from 90 million five years before

  • Globally, more than 1 billion mobile phones were sold in 2007, up from 896 million in 2006

  • Countries like Senegal and Uganda can expect e-waste flows from PCs alone to increase 4 to 8-fold by 2020.

  • Given the infrastructure expense and technology skills required to create proper facilities for efficient and environmentally sound metal recovery, the report suggests facilitating exports of critical e-scrap fractions like circuit boards or btteries from smaller countries to OECD-level, certified end-processors.

    Says Konrad Osterwalder, UN Under-Secretary General and Rector of UNU: "One person's waste can be another's raw material. The challenge of dealing with e-waste represents an important step in the transition to a green economy. This report outlines smart new technologies and mechanisms which, combined with national and international policies, can transform waste into assets, creating new businesses with decent green jobs. In the process, countries can help cut pollution linked with mining and manufacturing, and with the disposal of old devices."

    Country Situations

    The report assesses current policies, skills, waste collection networks and informal recycling in 11 representative developing economies in Asia, Africa and the Americas:

    • China, India
    • South Africa, Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, Morocco
    • Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Peru

  • Contact: Terry Collins
    United Nations University

    Page: 1 2 3 4 5

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