Hazards of Electronic Waste Disposal Cited

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A waste and pollution watchdog urged the Philippine government Monday to immediately address the improper disposal of wastes, particularly of toxic electronic wastes, in some areas after confirming the apparent lack of regulation and system of disposing electronic wastes at a garbage transfer station in Tondo, Manila.In a dumpsite investigation at the Pier 18 garbage transfer station in Tondo, Manila, the Ecological Waste Coalition (EcoWaste) said it found waste reclaimers searching for valuable recyclable materials from end-of-life linear and compact fluorescent lamps, computer circuit boards and other discarded electrical and electronic items, oblivious of the chemical hazards they pose.“Our investigation confirms the apparent lack of regulation and system that will curb the improper disposal of e-wastes and the perilous recycling taking place in dumpsites and junkshops,” EcoWaste project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats) coordinator Thony Dizon said.He pointed out that toxic and hazardous chemicals in e-waste dumps endanger the health of informal recyclers and the people around them as well as contaminate the environment with toxic pollutants.“We are primarily worried about the exposure of children and pregnant and lactating women to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury in the crude recycling of e-wastes, as heavy metals are extremely toxic even at low levels of exposure,” he pointed out.In a letter sent last Friday to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) and the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), the EcoWaste Coalition alerted the agencies on the unchecked disposal of electronic wastes in the municipal waste stream. …