Increasing standards of living mean more — literally hundreds of millions more — computers, cell phones and other electronic devices are being deployed in developing nations. But what happens when these hot new devices are no longer wanted?
Researchers from two institutions in India — the PEC University of Technology in Chandigarh and Surya World Technical Campus in Punjab — recently published a study in the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management estimating the number of desktop and laptop computers that will be disposed of in the developing nation by 2025. In the next 10 years, 126 million desktops and 900 million laptops are expected to exceed their life expectancy, flooding Indian e-waste facilities with over a billion devices containing environmentally toxic arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and more.
While the information is alarming, it’s also valuable. Researchers hope the results of the study will help alert policy-makers and planners about the need to cope with the coming e-waste boom and preemptively address potential environmental and public health problems.