Zapping the Toxic Out of Growing Electronic Waste [News]

March 1, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By The Straits Times

For nearly a year, a disused 30-inch cathode-ray-tube (CRT) TV sat in the living room of Mrs Adeline Koh’s four-room flat. No karung guni or rag-and-bone man wanted the old set because it was too bulky and heavy to cart away.

Two weeks ago, the 38-year-old finally handed it over to local rag-and-bone company Recycling Point Dot Com, which will donate or scrap it.

As consumers like her switch more frequently to sleeker appliances and gadgets, lured by firms constantly upgrading their products, the problem of electronic waste, or e-waste, is mounting.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) does not keep a record of the amount of e-waste generated in Singapore, but figures showing the amount of electronic gadgets consumers here buy each year should prove cause for worry.

E-waste, if not properly disposed of, can pose hazards to the environment and human health.

Last year, more than 443,000 TV sets were bought here – an 80 per cent jump from the number in 2007, according to figures this month by market research firm GfK. The demand for laptop and desktop computers is likewise booming – sales of desktops in the second quarter of last year were up 39 per cent year-on-year. On average, Singapore residents replace their cellphones every 12 to 16 months, said GfK.

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