Essay Hazardous Waste

Words: 2142
Pages: 9

The Problem Household hazardous waste along with E-waste is not only becoming an enormous problem locally in developed nations but also a major issue on a global scale. “A hazardous waste is a waste that exhibits a hazardous characteristic or is a listed waste. There are four criteria that define a characteristic hazardous waste. They are: 1. Ignitability, 2. Corrosivity, 3. Reactivity, 4. Toxicity.” These materials can be flammable, reactive, or unstable enough to release toxic fumes into the atmosphere. They are capable of corroding metal containers such as tanks, barrels, and drums. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency has over 500 items designated as hazardous waste. Examples of household hazardous waste …show more content…
5 Some of the toxins that are found in E-waste are Barium, lead, lithium, Mercury, Nickel, Palladium, Rhodium, Cadmium and Silver. When E-waste ends up in our landfills, these toxins can leach into ground water and cause serious health issues such as, birth defects, brain damage, and kidney damage, among many other serious health problems.6 Computers are just one of the many items that after being scavenged here for the most lucrative parts are then sent to developing countries where the remaining parts are scavenged by workers there who earn less than 17 cents per day. 7 The major cause of computers being discarded is they become obsolete. Every year an estimated 400 million electronic units are being scrapped, and by the year 2010 that figure will rise to three billion units.8 A recent example of this is the release of Microsoft Vista. A study by Softchoice Corp. states that fifty percent of the business PC’s do not meet the minimum requirements for Vista, and ninety-four percent do not meet system requirements for Vista Premium. Even though this can be resolved by upgrading the RAM in the computer, most businesses will choose to simply discard the computers.9 Another problem we are having globally with hazardous waste is Shipbreaking. Shipbreaking is the process of dismantling obsolete vessel structures for scrapping or disposal.10 This is primarily done in developing nations such and India and Bangladesh because their