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Environmental Health Assignment

Introduction

By Environmental health, we understand the study of how the various factors related to the environment affect the human health resulting in diseases. The external factors including physical, biological and chemical affect the human body in some way or the other. However, the procedure of curing the conditions that may result due to these factors and Creating A Health-Supportive Environment is the ultimate motto of this. Not only does it focus on the external factors only but also the factors related to the social and cultural context along with Genetics. Thus, to prevent degradation of human health as well as ecological imbalances, human health and environmental quality need to be taken care of in all possible ways.

Electronic waste or e-waste which has become a significant source of pollution these days consisting of the discarded parts of computers and other electronic devices are recycled these days. The scrap materials and other reusable’s are again reused to turn them into usable products and remoulded into fresh products to be sold again. It not only reduces the harmful particles from mixing up with the soil and water but also results in less money being wasted to repurchase new raw materials. Even the worthless pieces which are found to have less scrap value can be easily recycled to help in paying the cost of transportation. The durable products can easily be recycled to help the environment stay clean and reduce e-waste being generated. Certain intergovernmental organisations have come up to safeguard the environment and maintain peace and order. The United Nations (UN) has taken up the responsibility of cooperating with all the countries on an international basis and maintaining order all around.

 

Recycling of e-wastes in LMIC countries

LMIC also was known as Lower, and Middle Economic Count ........

cedure of curing the conditions that may result due to these factors and Creating A Health-Supportive Environment is the ultimate motto of this. Not only does it focus on the external factors only but also the factors related to the social and cultural context along with Genetics. Thus, to prevent degradation of human health as well as ecological imbalances, human health and environmental quality need to be taken care of in all possible ways.

Electronic waste or e-waste which has become a significant source of pollution these days consisting of the discarded parts of computers and other electronic devices are recycled these days. The scrap materials and other reusable’s are again reused to turn them into usable products and remoulded into fresh products to be sold again. It not only reduces the harmful particles from mixing up with the soil and water but also results in less money being wasted to repurchase new raw materials. Even the worthless pieces which are found to have less scrap value can be easily recycled to help in paying the cost of transportation. The durable products can easily be recycled to help the environment stay clean and reduce e-waste being generated. Certain intergovernmental organisations have come up to safeguard the environment and maintain peace and order. The United Nations (UN) has taken up the responsibility of cooperating with all the countries on an international basis and maintaining order all around.

 

Recycling of e-wastes in LMIC countries

LMIC also was known as Lower, and Middle Economic Countries are those countries whose economic income is considered to be much lower as per the GNI per capita ranging between 1006$ and 3955$. The developing and undeveloped nations fall in this category.

Even though developed countries are leading in producing large amounts of e-waste, the primary concern lies in the developing countries in their e-waste collection and generation. The disposal of these e-wastes can have the detrimental effect on both the environment as well as human health. Several recommendations and plans are therefore proposed to meet the changing conditions of the environment resulting in their degradation. Several informal and intermediary recycling sectors have thus been created to maintain the growing population of the LMIC countries to treat the wastes and recycle them to make it usable again to avoid their accumulation. A critical task falls on the manufacturers and producers to make sure that they produce such products which can be easily treated and recycled once it gets dumped. They need to make sure that the materials which are used in their products are environmentally friendly to the extent possible and do not cause harm to the environment or create any health hazards for the people around. The most significant challenge for the developing countries is that they do not have that sufficient amount of fund to dispose off their e-wastes whereas the developed countries have the benefit of getting rid of them by shipping them to other developing nations which only adds extra wastes being collected.

Economic and environmental benefits of reduced waste

Prevention of wastes is an integral part of the waste strategy. Recycling is an essential portion of the national and state economy thereby creating some job opportunities for people and saving a significant portion of the money for the generators of waste. Recycling has a positive impact on both the environmental and economic sectors of a country. The non-renewable sources are benefited the most in the whole recycling process. Being very limited in amount, the non-renewable sources do not get replenished easily since recycling of specific products does the job. The pressure gets reduced on extraction, harvesting and processing of such resources. Minimization of greenhouse gas emissions should be linked closely with waste collection., treatment and transportation. The cost spent on waste management should be decreased with the decrease in the accumulation of wastes. It would help the developing countries to prevent the unnecessary outflow of a capital of the state, and they can use the money in some other productive recycling practices. The consumers should minimise their demand on purchasing additional products and use only those products which are essential. It, in turn, would reduce the waste accumulation and useless flow of money of both the consumers and the government is spending vast amounts on recycling and waste management.

 Newer and fresher technologies need to be adopted which would reduce the pressure of spending vast amounts of money on technology. Business and Organizations should understand the economic benefits as a result of their sale of their recyclable materials. With the increase in demand of a specific element, the producers may earn their annuity by modifying those products, the extent to which it needs to be processed to make it ready to be sold in the market as fresh new products. Thus the prices for recyclable products fluctuate just like the other products do in the market and play an essential role in similarly influencing the market condition. Establishing a well-run recycling program can also impact on the business and other organisations by using smaller solid waste dumpsters and reducing the number of solid waste pickups which are made on a local basis to reduce the cost. Replacing the service provided by labourers in handling solid waste with robust waste haulier service can result in lowering the cost spent by the organisations. By reducing the loss on disposal a significant amount of money can be saved. This policy is mainly followed in the developing countries. However, the fee charged on disposal varies from state to country. One of the best ways to prevent the money spent on disposing of the wastes is recycling. Reusing the products which are durable and can be even used as a scrap part is considered. In e-waste recycling, this process can be best followed. The use of efficient incineration system is very profitable to be established which cuts the cost of disposing of and making new products afresh. Thus reduction of waste can influence the environment and economy to a great extent by both reducing the extra cost spent by the government as well as preventing the escalating problem of newer technologies being made every day by choosing alternatives.

 

The extent of environmental problems related in developing countries and how they can be controlled

A current study shows that electronic waste has been becoming an emerging problem and a new environmental challenge in the 21st century. With the increase in growth of electric and IT industry and increasing rates of consumption of electronic products, the present consumer culture has resulted in leading to disastrous environmental problems globally. Even the recycling of e-waste can result in the emission of toxic gases from certain substances which are treated.

Some of the wastes which are treated are believed to have cancer-causing agents and very harmful for the environment. Huge amounts of dangerous toxic chemicals are found in Computers and other electronic goods. The waste products which are discharged from electronic scrap are considered to possess lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium and other toxic substances which are very harmful to the environment if they get mixed with soil, water or air. Lead is an extremely toxic element which if inhaled or ingested by human body may result in psychological and neurological effects which stay permanently. China and India are believed to have low standards of environment where the biggest reason is e-waste accumulation which is possessed illegally by them. The burden which befalls on the environment in these developing countries is severe, and the results in health and environment are even more baffling and scary. Number of laws are made to control these e-wastes, and lots of attempts are made by the government to prevent pollution created from these, the e-waste management is still uncontrollable With the growing dependency on Information[i] . Technology and electronic goods, the dumping of the e-wastes have increased on a significant level resulting in putting lots of stress on the environment. The lifespan of an individual depends on the environmental impact on them. Computer waste management requires an effective partnership and collaboration between the private and public sectors to manage the wastes that are created by them since computer wastes are believed to create the most harmful pollution in the environment. Thus e-wastes are believed to cause environmental and health threat on a firm basis and proper management while disposing and recycling e-wastes is necessary [ii]. The prevention and minimisation of generation and control and reduction of transboundary movements of these hazardous wastes need to be executed. Proper technologies need to be implemented which would make sure to treat the wastes correctly to avoid any form of pollution or emission of toxic substances for a healthier and clean environment?

 

Control measures that need to be implemented

 The international collaboration of all the countries under the UN should take steps to prevent the developed countries from disposing of off their e-waste to the developing countries to reduce their accumulation of e-waste. Developing countries lack the fund which is required to treat the wastes or even send them to any other country[iii]. Due to lack of treating them properly, toxic gases and other substances are emitted thereby making it hard for the people living there, hard. Due to the poor regulations prevailing in the developing countries the disposal of these wastes becomes a tenacious job. The United States and China rank the highest in producing E-wastes[iv]. However, most of these huge amounts of havoc causing elements get dumped into the developing countries and the burden on them increases[v]. It is seen that China is found to produce around 6 million tones of electronic wastes which is, however, less if their population size of 1.379 billion is considered. Almost 70% of the total e-waste generated by the country leaving the rest to other developing countries such as India and other East Asian and African countries [vi]. Thus, more stress is given on the non-toxic elements such as iron, steel, copper and gold which are considered valuable and more easily recyclable[vii] . Disposal plants are found to release toxic materials, organic chemicals which can easily mix with the environment and heavy metals which can bring harmful effects on both the environment as well as human health. As an experiment, the blood samples of children living in the e-waste generating towns of Guiyu and China were taken to check the lead levels in the area. It was found that the level of lead exceeded three times to the original proportion which is otherwise considered to be the safe limit by the US centres for Disease control and prevention. Another example has been cited where it has found that in California, the lives of peregrine falcons have been threatened [viii]. Polybrominated Diphenyl ethers (PBDE) which are widely used in the flame retardants in electronics has been found inside the eggs of these birds[ix]. Proper managing of the volume and flow of e-waste is a common approach that needs to be taken care of. It involves protocol of e-waste on an international basis, proper funding for the technological transfers, strict national legislation on trade including both imports and exports and spread of awareness related to the problems experienced by the customers. The researchers and regulators are required to frame a global e-waste flow system thereby covering the complete lifespan of all the electrical goods, including their production processes, their usage, the form of disposal, recovery and finally the remanufacturing of those products[x].

Other than the work of recycling, the ultimate motto should be a circular economy consisting of a cleaner production and less wasteful consumption thereby embracing a shared economy and cloud based technologies which consist of smaller material footprints. China, therefore, leads among the developing countries in producing the maximum amount of electronic wastes and emitting toxic substances. In Spite of China being placed in a much better position than many underdeveloped countries, the coordination process in China is poorly maintained. It consists of some department which are involved in publishing laws related to disposal fees being involved, providing subsidies and keeping a check on pollution and other illegal imports. However, there are also many countries that are poor and do not even possess a proper legal system for prevention against e-waste accumulations and how to tackle them.  In many developing countries such as the EU, manufacturers are required to take responsibility for disposing of their electrical wastes. In the Philippines, to check the electronic waste in the country, certain strict laws and rules have been made by the government, the most important of them being Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990. Regulating all the chemical substances that may pose threat to the public health and the environment through policies such as importing, manufacturing, their sale and use, distribution and disposal of all the harmful substances that may create detrimental effect on the health and environment[xi]. They also aim at controlling the entire process or cycle which goes through a product's life of the generation, transportation, storage, their treatment and disposal. Recycling and reusing of those products which can be used again [xii]. Being a developed country as they are, they also manage and limit the disposal and shipping of the e-waste from other developed countries and restrict the limit in order to reduce the collection of such wastes in their country thereby ensuring the health and welfare of people [xiii]. Consumer discards and manufacture of contaminated substances are also checked to safeguard the risk or injury that may befall on the health and safety of people and environment.

Extent of Environmental Health Problems

E-waste has been found to cause an adverse impact on human health and environmental pollution. The European Union has taken an active role in promising specific policy responses showing responsible e-waste management. The manufacturers are required to adopt this approach and take steps to eliminate harmful toxins from producing and mixing up in the environment. Combustion produced from burning e-waste creates fine particulate matter which is closely linked to pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases[xiv]. The toxic chemicals which are produced from e-waste enter the soil layer which is the most significant route of the entering and exposure to the human bodies. The chemicals which are exposed to the environment are non-biodegradable and persist in the environment for a long time thereby increasing the exposure risk on the human beings and other living organisms. The lead that mixes with the environment affects the small children as well by creating breathing and other respiratory problems who suffer because of inhaling the toxic metallic gases of lead. Other problems which are exhibited are digestive, neurological, respiratory and other bone problems that the people in the area suffer from[xv]. In Southeast China, Researchers of New Zealand have found a change in the wind pattern which has been intoxicated due to the release of toxic particles by open-air burning in the Pearl River Delta Region.

 Due to poor sanitation, poverty and low working conditions, the health implications of e-waste is difficult [xvi]. Some world health organization (WHO) studies have shown that the cell phones and computer chips which are discarded and no longer in use are responsible for e-waste radiations and these harmful waves are one of the main sources of bringing out the source of radiation in the environment. The e-waste gets mixed with the household wastes, and after their disposal, they mix with the soil entering into the plants and vegetables grown and thereby get affected by radiation. Also sometimes they get mixed with the groundwater and cause severe pollution since the wastes are non-biodegradable. In Vizag, it has been seen that the used batteries and other similar e-wastes containing heavy lead and mercury are dumped into the seas and cause severe health effects for the marine animals as well. Constant exposure to radiation also results in causing different types of cancer. In European countries, medical plants and herbs grow among the e-waste dumplings so that the plants can be used to neutralize such radiation effects[xvii]. However such measures are prevented and lack in developing countries. Developing countries are found to get rid of the e-wastes by burning them at times which increases air pollution to a great extent. Thus, it is seen how developing, and underdeveloped countries go through so much of waste dumplings, and this explains the huge amount of pollution in these areas.

Conclusion

Thus several organisations have come up and collaborated with all the countries to ensure that more benefits and attention is paid to the LMIC countries[xviii]. The UNO and WHO has taken up many intermediary organisations to help them in this cause. The disposal and shipping of e-waste in the developing countries needs to be stopped, and efforts need to be made to reduce the manufacture of extra electronic goods which are otherwise not necessary and live a very short span of life. The recycling method needs to be more effectively executed to prevent the emission of harmful toxic elements into the environment, and the unnecessary creation of pollution needs to be stoppe[xix]. Manufacturers should take steps to limit the use of electronic goods consisting of harmful elements such as lead and mercury which brings detrimental effects on the environment. Use of alternatives and proper recycling process can reduce the manufacture of new products, and the consumers can make use of the recycled products in return. Those products such as metals and other degradable substances which are present in the electronic goods need to be increased in their use replacing the other harmful substances. It would help the environment and make it a much cleaner place to live in for all the living beings thereby safeguarding their future