RELG-327 Business Ethics

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Student Paper

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Environmental Public Health | Environmental Studies | International Relations

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Electronic waste, also referred to as “e-waste,” is all waste made from electronic products such as computers, mobile phones, digital music players, refrigerators, washing machines, and TV’s (Pinto, 2008). There is e-waste produced in the manufacturing process as well as the final disposal of the product. Although developed countries consume most electronics, it is increasingly common for countries that are still developing to possess electronic goods (Larrdis, 2011). Use of technology and connection to worldwide networking is a huge step for the progress of these countries, but having gained a “part” of the developed world without the associated infrastructure to responsibly handle it is quite dangerous.

India is currently one of the top developing countries in the production of electronics, which has been a growing field for them since the 1990’s. Since the technological boom, India has seen a growing middle class and increase in jobs in IT research and engineering (Carroll, 2014). Although this market is very profitable for India, it comes at a substantial, and often hidden cost: e-waste. India produced about 800,00 tons of e-waste in the year 2012 (Borromeo, 2013), which was more than double what it was in 2008 (Pinto, 2008).

Most e-waste is produced in West and South India while most recycling centers are in northern India (Pinto, 2008). The main sources of e-waste are government, public, and private industrial sectors, which account for 70% of the waste, while households account for 15%. Three billion electronic devices and electrical appliances became e-waste in 2010, weighing an estimated 20-50 million tons, comprising about 5% of all municipal solid waste. Televisions and computers take up a majority of the volume, and many of the substances that are in computers can be toxic and carcinogenic if not handled properly. This handling of e-waste poses serious health and environmental issues for the people of India.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.