The obsession to have the latest and most technologically advanced mobile phones and other digital gadgets is starting to bury the earth in electronic or e-waste—which puts our health and the environment at great risk.
A study by the United Nations (UN) University in Japan shows that e-waste has jumped 63 percent in five years. Agence France Presse (AFP) says the UN has called on Asian nations to improve recycling and disposal methods.
The sharp rise in e-waste is due primarily to higher incomes that allow more people to buy smartphones and other gadgets.
In the past, the concern was for discarded electronics from the developed world that were being dumped in Asian countries. The waste was recycled in often unsafe but cheap backyard factories.
But in recent years, the UN study notes, Asia itself has “rapidly emerged as a major source of electronic waste, due to increasingly affluent consumers…” It reports: “China more than doubled its own generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015, the period of the study.”
Identified as the worst-offending economy in the region, per capita, is Hong Kong, with each person in the Chinese territory reportedly generating an average of 21.7 kg (47.8 lb) of e-waste in 2015. In Singapore and Taiwan, each person generated over 19 kg of e-waste in 2015, according to the study.
At present, the Philippines, along with Cambodia and Vietnam, is a low e-waste generator, with an average of about 1 kg per person. Given the Filipinos’ enthusiasm for the latest model gadgets, though, the situation can change rapidly.
The UN warns that improper and illegal e-waste dumping means increased exposure to toxic chemicals, with severe health and environment results. Of particular concern are acids used to separate the metals in the electronic products. Inhalation or exposure to them pose serious health risks.
Project 1 Phone
Filipinos may want to dispose of their old gadgets properly through Project 1 Phone, a Globe Telecom campaign. The project takes apart a device and sells usable parts to raise funds to build schools. It aims to promote proper disposal of electronic waste and recycling.
Bring old devices and accessories to designated collection centers. TES-AMM, a leading electronics waste recycler, will recover precious metals and plastics from the gadgets and properly dispose of nonusable items.
If you need to replace plants that have died or are looking for certain species, visit the flower and garden show of the Philippine Horticultural Society, Inc. on Feb. 2-15 at Hardin ng mga Bulaklak, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City.
Get the chance to see the award-winning Euphorbia deceryii of plant arts expert Serapion Metilla.
Aside from the exhibit, there will also be daily lecture demonstrations, in which you can learn how to care for your precious plants, and join various competitions.
Overall show chair is Dorie Bernabe, tel. 09178141408 and 4259576, or Metilla, 09399222804 and 9394593.
For senior citizens: Make sure to register for coverage by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) Lifetime Program. Moppet B. Varlez says that while many senior citizens who are still employed, or are retirees or pensioners, are already enrolled in the program, there are some who have yet to register.
It may be a good idea for senior citizens to check if their PhilHealth coverage remains valid after retirement.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]