E-waste Is The New Sustainability Crisis

Goal 8: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

This is part of our year-long series “Millennium Development Goals Tech Roadmap”

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Target 7.A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources

Target 7.B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss

Target 7.C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation

Target 7.D: Achieve, by 2020, a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

Meeting the goals for global environmental sustainability continue to have their ups and downs.  Much of the lag is caused by either natural occurrences that are beyond human control or by what many scientists believe are human activities that are causing climate change.

Global carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 50 percent over that last 25 years.  However, since the Montreal Protocol was adopted, there has been a 98 percent reduction in ozone depletion.

Despite the many international forest policies that have been created in the last two decades, deforestation continue to plague the world, especially in Latin America and Africa. The decline in forests has contributed to more animals going extinct at a faster rate.  Disturbances in biodiversity seriously disrupt the ecosystem.   Deforestation also affects the poor as forests provide essential survival needs like food and water.

The decrease in forest mainly attributes to rapid urbanization and slums.  While this MDG target has been met, more needs to be done to improve access to fresh water, sanitation and better housing.

The technology explosion over the last decades has also had an effect on the environment.  Electronic waste, or e-waste, is the fastest growing solid waste stream worldwide. Many old electronics end up in landfills throughout the developing world and cause severe problems to the health of both the planet and it’s inhabitants.

As a matter of fact, a new study show that 25 percent of e-waste from developed countries end up in seven particular developing countries –  China, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia.  A United Nations report says that the amount of electronic waste will grow by 33 percent by 2017.

We have written extensively on e-waste over the last two years.  Please read through our archives to learn more about this topic from every angle here or you can buy our book  Recharge E-waste: Ideas For Reducing Electronic Waste And Greening The Tech World.

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