World

Singapore among big 
e-waste dumpers in Asia

MANILA Electronic waste is rising sharply across Asia as higher incomes allow hundreds of millions of people to buy smartphones and other gadgets, with serious consequences for health and the environment, according to a UN study released yesterday.

So-called e-waste in Asia has jumped 63 per cent in five years, the report by the United Nations University said, as it warned of a need to improve recycling and disposal methods.

Per capita, the worst-offending economy in the region was Hong Kong, with each person in the Chinese territory generating an average of 21.7kg of e-waste in 2015.

Singapore and Taiwan were also big e-waste dumpers, with just over 19kg a person generated in 2015, according to the study.

Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines were among the lowest e-waste generators with an average of 1kg for each person.

China more than doubled its generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015, the period of the study, according to the report.

NO INFRASTRUCTURE

"For many countries that already lack infrastructure for environmentally sound e-waste management, the increasing volumes are a cause for concern," said Mr Ruediger Kuehr, the report's co-author and head of the UN University's Sustainable Cycles Programme.

For many years in the past, China and some parts of Asia have been dumping grounds for discarded electronics from the developed world, recycling the waste in often unsafe but ultra-cheap backyard factories. - AFP

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