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Electronic equipment that is near to the end of its useful life is termed as electronic waste or e-waste. Generally e-waste contains heavy metals which can contaminate environment and create health hazards.
Computer monitor, scanner, keyboard, mouse, printer, cable, mobile phone, charger, battery, television, washing machine, camera, fridge, mp3 player, cd, microwave, toaster, coffee machine, trimmer, hair dryer are few things that are termed as of electronic waste. But the definition is not limited to just these many items. Anything that one can plug into electric power supply or runs with battery power supply can be termed as e-waste.
Due to the enormous growth in the number of devices, disposal of e-waste has become one of the most challenging problem of modern times. E-waste can’t be dumped into the ground as it can pollute the groundwater and can cause acidification of the soil.
A few examples of sources of e-waste and its consequences on human health (when dumped into the open atmosphere) is as follows:
a) Semiconductors contain cadmium, which is harmful for kidney and liver and cause neural damage.
b) Solder on electric boards contains lead and effect brain.
c) Wires, cables contain PVC which cause respiratory problems.
d) A typical CRT of a television/monitor contains 2-5 pound of lead which when left in open atmosphere releases Barium, which causes muscle weakness, damage to heart and liver.