Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Nancy seeks electronic waste disposal ban in recycling facilities

Senator Nancy Binay has proposed the enactment of a law prohibiting the disposal of electronic devices and gadgets such as laptops, desktop computers, and flat TVs in any solid waste management facilities in the country.

E-waste materials gathered in a junk shop in Tondo, Manila (Photo credit: Greenpeace)

Binay cited serious health concerns posed by exposure to hazardous substances and chemicals found in electronic devices.

“Exposure to these substances are dangerous and may cause serious health risks to people when improperly thrown out since they do not break down easily and they build up in the environment,” she said in filing Senate Bill No. 2008.

A fine of P20,000 and a jail term of one to three months await anyone who will be found to have knowingly disposed of any electronic device in mixed solid waste.

Any solid waste management facility that will knowingly accept for disposal or incineration any electronic device or any truckload or container of solid waste which includes electronic device will be meted with a fine of P50,000 and revocation of license.

Solid waste management facility, under RA 9003, refers to “any resource recovery system or component thereof; any system, program or facility for resource conservation; any facility for the collection, source separation, storage, transportation, transfer, processing, treatment or disposal of solid waste.”

Binay’s bill seeks to protect the people and prevent the proliferation and reduce the amount of hazardous materials being discarded in solid waste management facilities through recycling and reusing.

“Electronic devices are a complex mixture of various materials which contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium as well as hazardous chemicals such as brominated flame retardants. Also polluting PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic is frequently used,” the senator said in her explanatory note.

Compounds of hexavalent chromium used in the production of metal housings are highly toxic and carcinogenic to people, Binay said.

The senator explained that long-term exposure to brominated flame retardants used in circuit boards and plastic casings can lead to impaired learning and memory functions, thyroid and estrogen hormone systems and exposure in the womb has been linked to behavioral problems.

Cadmium used in rechargeable computer batteries, contacts and switches and in older cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) — which is found in older TVs and computer display screens — is highly toxic and primarily affect the kidneys and bones, she said.

There’s also the possibility of damages to the central nervous system and the brain due to mercury used in lighting devices for flat-screen displays, Binay warned.


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