E-waste and Recycling in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is developing with the increasing use of technology. In Bangladesh, the waste of electronic products is a curse. People consume and dump useless products without considering the environmental damage and sustainability. Nowadays it’s a big challenge for Bangladesh to ensure sustainable and safe use of technology. 

The more e-waste recycling is guaranteed, the more a healthy environment will be confirmed for the current and future generations. That’s why this paper tends to discuss the major challenges and opportunities of e-waste and recycling in Bangladesh. With that, you will know the present condition of e-waste and recycling in Bangladesh and the negative effects of e-waste. 

What is E-waste?

Electronic products that become useless or go bad are known as Electronic waste (E-waste). In general, they seem to be a traditional waste, but actually, they are not. For example- abandoned TVs, refrigerators, computers, laptops, cameras, air conditioners, microwaves, CFL bulbs, washing machines, cell phones, DVD players, electronic toys, etc. When these everyday items get destroyed after use, it becomes waste, which is known as e-waste.

E-waste contains serious radiation, which affects the environment in various ways. Especially in the electronic products we use, there are many types of components. Examples: cadmium, lead oxide, lead, carbon, silicon, beryllium, fiberglass, mercury, and other metal elements. As they are non-biodegradable, they cause considerable damage to the environment. Even when electronic materials are destroyed, the components are not exhausted but remain in the waste. 

Challenges for E-waste Recycling in Bangladesh

Technological Knowledge

E-waste is produced from modern technological products like smartphones, television, refrigerator, air conditioning, monitor, bulb, etc. As a result, people who know technology can ensure the best uses of modern electronic products. People in developing countries like Bangladesh have less awareness of electronic devices than in developed countries. Therefore, the people of Bangladesh are less aware of the negative effects of e-waste. Most people in Bangladesh don’t know the negative effects of using old and outdated electronic devices. To tackle the e-waste and recycling problem in Bangladesh, it is one of the major tasks to increase technology knowledge among the people.

Less health conscious

The people of Bangladesh are not concerned about the harmful effects of e-waste, as a result, it is the biggest challenge is to create awareness about e-waste and its proper management. Many are not aware of its harmful side. E-waste contains many toxic substances and chemical compounds, which react differently with sunlight and heat. Harmful radiation is often emitted from integrated circuits (ICs) left in the sun. Even after this e-waste is dumped in water and buried in soil, the toxic paws do not stop. E-waste is one of the causes of autism and mental retardation. 

There are various types of components in the electronic products we use. Such as cadmium, lead oxide, lead, carbon, silicon, beryllium, fiberglass, mercury, and other metal elements. Even when electronic materials are destroyed, the components are not exhausted but remain in the waste. As they are non-biodegradable, they cause considerable damage to the environment. As a result, the soil, vegetation, crops, and biodiversity are affected greatly. Creating awareness about e-waste among this large population is a big challenge for the government, most of whom have no idea about e-waste.

Developing Country 

Developing countries have lots of challenges and e-waste is a new one. In this modern era development means technological development. To ensure development, Bangladesh puts weight on technological advances. That’s why it’s impossible to lower the use of electronic devices according to the government. As a developing country, people’s per capita income is low due to which they cannot afford advanced technology and multitasking products that help to reduce e-waste. As a result, Bangladesh produces about 2.8 million tonnes of e-waste every year.

Used Product Import

Due to the continuous increase in the use of electrical and electronic products, the waste of these products is also increasing. Especially in the last few years, the amount of this waste has increased almost twice. In developed countries, if an electronic product is slightly damaged, it is thrown outside the house in a designated dustbin. People in poor countries collect it and send it to their own countries. Even in this way, people in developed countries are passing the waste through tactics.

Lack of Recycling Industry

To get rid of the radiation pollution of e-waste, recycling factories need to be built very quickly. A factory where e-waste can be processed into reusable parts. There are not enough handful of e-waste recycling factories in the country, which is less than our e-waste. E-waste recycling factories can also be a promising industry. Azizu Recycling & E-Waste Company Ltd, SGS Group, Walton, Swap are the leading e-waste recycling industry in Bangladesh. Through the expansion of the recycling industry, the e-waste and recycling problem in Bangladesh can be decreased. The expansion of the industry will create employment in the country as well as the environment will be free from pollution.

Inadequate Government Policy

The Bangladesh Department of Environment (DOE) published the “Hazardous Waste (E-Waste) Management Regulations 2021” under the “Bangladesh Environment Protection Act 1995” on June 10, 2021. This is the latest government law to control e-waste and recycling in Bangladesh. Environmental protection laws in Bangladesh are not up-to-date enough and are inadequate compared to the problem. And one of the biggest challenges in e-waste management in Bangladesh is to implement these related laws in practice.

Why Should We Recycle E-Waste?

Preserves Natural Resources

We know from the previous discussion that many valuable metals can be obtained from e-waste and they can be reused through recycling. When manufacturers get much of the metal they need through recycling, they will need to collect less precious resources from nature. E-waste recycling saves energy and Earth’s limited natural resources. Yes, that’s why we need to increase the trend of recycling.

Saves the Ecosystem

E-waste causes long-term harmful effects on the environment. Due to continuous environmental pollution, the existence of biodiversity of the world is threatened today. E-waste contains serious radiation, which affects the environment in various ways. In general, flora, aquatic fauna, and fauna of the island region suffer severe damage due to plastic waste. Not only plants or aquatic animals, but humans are also directly and indirectly affected by e-waste pollution. Therefore, to save the environment from pollution and to have a beautiful future world, recycling levels should be increased.

Promising Business

Through recycling, this waste can be our major source of income. If we want, it is possible to bring a huge amount of money from this sector.

Extracting valuable materials from e-waste and making them available in the market will be a huge success. Capacity should be increased for this. The problem can be solved to a large extent only if we are able to recycle the bulk of e-waste. A typical CRT TV contains an average of 450 grams of copper, 225 grams of aluminum, and 5.6 grams of gold. Each mobile phone contains between 34 and 50 milligrams of gold. Apart from this, it is possible to find valuable metal elements including silver, tin, iron, and nickel.

Creates New Job Sector

The recycling process includes various steps such as collection and transportation, shredding and sorting, dust extraction, preparation of recyclable materials for sale, etc. Each stage requires many workers. This means that creating more institutions for e-waste recycling will contribute to the country’s economy and solve the unemployment problem.

Reduces Health Hazards

Cadmium, lead oxide, lead, carbon, silicon, beryllium, fiberglass, mercury, etc are produced from e-waste, causing mental disorders, lung damage, cancer, high blood pressure, kidney, renal and neurological damage, and leading to even death. To protect ourselves and our children from these health hazards, we should recycle.

Saves Lands

Bangladesh is a small country but has a large population that produces a huge amount of e-waste every year. E-waste dumping requires spacious landfills and these landfills have no further meaningful uses. On the other hand, living things and the environment suffer in the long run from the hazards originating from landfills. So the more we recycle e-waste the more landfills will be used for more meaningful purposes like housing, factory, agriculture, etc. 

Final Words:

I have provided you with the real challenges for “E-waste and Recycling in Bangladesh” and “Why should we recycle E-waste?”. If you find this article informative enough, feel free to write to us in the comments sections. Your opinions and suggestions are always appreciated and valued.

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