- Disused phones’ stack would rise a hundred times higher than ISS
- Many of the 5 billion phones withdrawn from circulation will be hoarded
- Thousands of tons of e-waste are shipped from wealthy nations
Nowadays, almost every person owns his/her own smartphone because it has become an indelible part of our lives to such an extent that it is virtually impossible to imagine life without it in the 21st century.
Indeed, losing your smartphone, especially an exorbitant one, is akin to losing/amputating your own hand, which is not something that anyone would want and fact that our smartphones contain important data like bank account details, card details, and other personal info, it becomes all the more important to take care of it.
There are around 16 to 20 billion smartphones worldwide that are possessed by different kinds of people all across the globe out of which around 5 to 6 billion will be discarded or stashed away in 2022, as many experts feel that the device needs to be recycled for all the hazardous and dangerous materials it contains.
The unused (even misused) smartphones are going to be stacked atop each other and rise up to 50,000km, which is more than 100 times higher than the International Space Station, which was confirmed by the WEEE research consortium.
The problem is that these disused and unwanted smartphones, along with many other gadgets, contain many recyclable components like gold, silver, copper, palladium, etc. and have higher chances of being hoarded, dumped, or incirnerated, which will lead to environmental harms, thereby resulting in health hazards.
There are tones of global electronic waste that isn’t recycled and is generated annually, out which defunct smartphones constitute nearly 44.48 million, which, many experts claim, is just the tip of the iceberg.
The reason why so many smartphones are hoarded and dumped is because the users themselves forget them in their closets, drawers, tables, cupboards, inside the car, or even garages, when they should be bringing them for repairing or recycling.
It is quite sad that people have so little regard for such items simply because it is insignificant and therefore of no value in their eyes because they find it to be of no use, when the truth is that they have a lot of value.
E-waste too is difficult start out because its costs are high although around 55-60% of it is collected and recycled in Europe. At the same time, tons and tons of e-waste is shipped away to wealthier countries like US, EU members, and other developing and developed countries, which only adds to their woes of recycling.
There is another problem as financial means are not taken care of for e-waste to be treated safely, which contains hazardous and dangerous substances, including mercury, plastic, plastic paper, chemicals discarded from factories, etc. which can contaminate soil, pollute water and enter the food chain, thereby causing dangerous health issues to men, women, and children as people with a weak immune system are most affected by it.