E-Waste: A Growing Problem in Developing Markets

It’s been impossible to ignore the appearance of new gadgets over past decade, such as smartphones and plasma TVs. As enjoyable as these electronic products might be, they eventually meet their sell-by date and must be thrown out (or recycled if possible). Unfortunately, many of these disposed items are rapidly piling up on the world’s largest continent.

E-Waste In Asia

China’s has enjoyed tremendous economic growth in recent years, and with it a growing appetite for consumer electronic goods. This prosperity has come at a cost to the country’s environment, however; according to the United
Nations University, the amount of electronic waste produced by the world’s most populous country doubled from 2010 to 2015.

The bad news didn’t stop at the borders of China; the UN University team found a similar waste disposal problem in 11 other Asian countries. Over the same timeframe (2010 to 2015), the researchers noted that the amount of electronic
waste in these nations soared by 63%.

Surpassing the West?

While the UN University’s findings are certainly problematic, they should also be put in proper perspective. Each year, people residing in Europe, North and South America discard an average of 34 pounds of e-waste. For the dozen Asian countries in the report, the 2015 waste-per-person figure stood at 22 pounds.

However, this fact could change over the coming years. The study authors identified a number of reasons for Asia’s growing e-waste woes, including a burgeoning demand for electronics and a growing variety of available electronic items. Such trends are only expected to continue in the foreseeable future, which could propel Asia’s e-waste numbers past their Western counterparts.

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