Sunday, August 29, 2010
Recycling of electronic waste - Main issues
Chinese mostly use low-tech methods to separate reusable electronic components from the circuit boards. These methods are not connected with high costs but they do cause serious environmental and health damage. Scientists say that the most immediate problem connected with recycling of electronic waste is the health of the workers and the people who live in the city. The problems do not stop here because these harmful emissions from toxic materials can also lead to global contamination as some previous studies have found carcinogens in wind-carried dust from Asia.
This study was the result of combined work of scientists from US and China, and was published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. The area where they conducted this study was Shantou City, a town of 150,000 people located in southern China's Guangdong Province, and the samples were collected during four working days, when workers were removing the electronic components by heating the circuit boards over grills on stoves burning coal briquettes.
Scientists still do not know to what extent are these emissions harming the environment and creating a health hazard for the workers, and people living in the nearby areas, and this will be the next logical step in their research.