E-Waste — What We Never Planned For



Over the past 50 years or so, human use of electronics has increased beyond what we ever imagined. Electronics have quickly made themselves a part of our daily lives, from house appliances, to personal communication devices… Electronics are everywhere and without them, we’d be handicapped. Another trend in this new information age, would be the acceleration in the development and improvement of electronics. In 2008, the go to phone was the Nokia N95, which had a D-Pad and a small keyboard, even an 8.5 megapixel camera. In the coming next few years, the N95 would be rendered obsolete, as phone companies begin research and development into a more intuitive interface– touchscreens.

Everything had changed so fast so soon, it is inevitable, the amount of e-waste and pollution as a result of these advancements. Now, the average person changes their phone every two years. We dispose of our appliances, only looking forward to a new frontier of faster and flashier devices, not looking back and realizing the amount of harm our waste does to the environment. Singapore, being one of the most richest and expensive first world countries today, is also a culprit in producing an excessive amount of electronic waste today.

Looking at electronic products, most components and parts can actually be recycled and reused again, as conductors and other precious minerals are metals which can be melted and recycled. So how are we still dumping away so much of our e-waste? The awareness of the harmful effects of e-waste has yet to become a norm.

Such was the case with carbon dioxide, the ozone layer and other environmental problems we never foresaw in the past when the industrial age first began. In spite of this, activists, scientists and people of great influence have seen the importance of environmental conservation, and their efforts have now made knowledge of pollution and global warming from fossil fuels is now general knowledge.

There is still much potential to be unlocked in the industry of recycling electronic waste, and much more work to be done to raise awareness of the catastrophic effects of e-waste pollution.