UN: Electronic waste is a "tsunami" with serious health effects
Delegates from 180 countries are meeting today and for two weeks in Geneva to take decisions related to the implementation of three international conventions governing the transboundary movement of toxic wastes, trade in hazardous chemicals and the elimination of persistent organic pollutants.
At this conference, how to manage waste electrical and electronic equipment, whose amounts are the fastest growing, it will be one of the central topics of discussion.
This is due to its colossal amounts they contain substances that can harm the health of people and the environment as the recovery of recyclables is scarce.
"We are facing an economic stupidity because we throw lots of raw materials that can be used again," said Steiner, who recalled that between microwaves, televisions, fixed, portable computers and mobile phones, the latter contain minerals that could be recycled without great difficulty and create "green" jobs.
The Executive Secretary of the three conventions (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm), Rolph Payet said that at the end of the conference are expected to adopt a document with guidelines on the proper management of electronic waste.
In 2014 41.8 million tonnes of electrical and electronic products were dropped, mainly engaged in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, an amount Payet compared with the burden of "1.15 million trucks eighteen wheels ".
During the meeting agreements were also seek to have a coordinated and coherent management of waste containing POPs, ie which do not degrade in nature, pollute soil and water and, in this way, enter the food chain and the body of humans and animals.
Steiner explained that such substances, many of which are used in agriculture, fertilizers, pesticides and insecticidas- can have a serious impact on the endocrine system.
"We live in a time where the chemicals are everywhere and growing within us," he warned.
The UN representative said that the risk posed by these chemicals is evident with the number of one million occupational deaths, caused by its management in various activities and concentrated on farming.
The aim of the conventions that will be under review in the coming days is not in all cases prohibit the use of harmful substances, but ensure that they are used so that its negative impact is reduced and that poor countries do not end up being their final destination.
Additional industry tries to convey the message that they need to develop alternative products to those that are widely shown to be toxic.
Currently, there are at least 100,000 chemical substances whose impact on health or the environment, in the vast majority of cases-has never been evaluated, though which are widely used in all types of industries and "part of our lives physical and economic, "he said Steiner.