Review: WHO report raises concerns about the effects of e-waste exposure on Child Health


The WHO recently released a report that outlines the link between informal e-waste recycling activities and health outcomes in children. As per this report, 18 million children & 12.9 million women, may be at risk from adverse health outcomes linked to e-waste recycling. Here is a review with a focus on India.

e-waste or electronic waste refers to all the electrical and electronic equipment and their components which have been discarded as waste. With the advancement in technology and the increasing usage of electronic products for multiple needs, it is no surprise that the generation of e-waste is increasing at a rapid pace. Peoples’ insatiable demand, technology uptake and shorter replacement cycles are some of the reasons behind the exponential growth in e-waste. In Europe, USA, and China, the average mobile phone is disposed of in less than two years. Even the United Nations has repeatedly warned that a ‘Tsunami of e-waste’ would hit the world soon.

According to World Economic Forum’s report in 2019, the e-waste produced annually was worth over $ 62.5 billion, more than the GDP of most countries. In addition to being a huge environmental problem, millions of children are affected by the mounting e-waste. This story reviews the recent report on e-waste and child health- ‘Children and digital dumpsites: e-waste exposure and child health’, published by WHO.

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Factly, 1 July 2021