The Digital Revolution : The Generation Of Electronic Waste, Or E Waste

1919 Words May 6th, 2015 8 Pages
The digital revolution has resulted in many technological advances that positively contribute to our society and the environment. Examples include advanced data collection and surveillance techniques, improved responses to environmental and social crises, increased communication, and a seemingly unlimited access to information. However all the benefits from this movement also usher in many negative effects. Due to rapid technological innovation, we often find ourselves consistently “upgrading” our older electronics and replacing them with the latest, current technology, sometimes as often as every 6 months to a year. This pattern of replacement, combined with increased global demand and growing markets in developing countries, has created a new environmental health problem that continues to grow at an exponential rate: the generation of electronic waste, or e-waste.
According to a 2014 report by the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS SCYCLE), 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated globally and is expected to grow to 49.8 million tons in 2018, with an annual growth rate of 4-5%. The Step Initiative, which is an international cooperative led by the UNU-IAS SCYCLE and dedicated to increasing awareness and overcoming this problem, defines e-waste as, “a term used to cover items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste without the intention of…

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