Pakistanis under health hazard due to e-waste: UN report

New York: As per a UN report released on Tuesday, Pakistanis are under health hazard due to electronic waste dismantling and recycling.

The 2021 UN report — “Children and digital dumpsites” — warns that the “health of children, adolescents and expectant mothers worldwide is at risk from the illegal processing of old electrical or electronic devices,” reported Dawn.

The report, released simultaneously in New York and Geneva by the World Health Organization (WHO) is being called a landmark study on the toxic threat.

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According to this report, Pakistan produced 433 kilotons of e-waste last year. India, being one of the top three digital recyclers, produced 3,230 kilotons of e-waste. But India does have a national e-waste regulation policy, while Pakistan is still working on it.

India, however, is among the three countries where e-waste recycling is most prominent. Brazil and China are the other two, reported Dawn.

All three major South Asian nations — India, Pakistan and Bangladesh — are among the worst affected by e-waste.

Karachi is the major location for e-waste recycling and dismantling in Pakistan. In 2014, an estimated 12.46 kilotons of old computers were imported into Karachi from various countries.

Several areas in Lahore are known to be involved in e-waste recycling. E-waste is often dismantled and recycled inside rooms, with little ventilation. E-waste recycling, dismantling and refurbishment are also undertaken in Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Peshawar, reported Dawn.

Electronic waste is discarded electronic or electrical equipment and devices. Used electronics that are intended for reuse, salvage, resale, disposal, or recycling are also referred to as e-waste.

Informal or unorganized processing of e-waste particularly in developing nations can affect human health adversely and also cause pollution of the environment. 

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