Mexico produces 1 million tonnes of e-waste a year

Each Mexican produces between 7 and 10 kilograms of electronic waste each year, experts say

Mexico produces 1 million tonnes of e-waste a year
- Photo: Steve Yeater/AP
English 20/02/2019 16:18 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Notimex, UNAM Gazette, StEP Actualizada 16:18
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Specialists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have made estimates regarding the amount of electronic waste that is generated by Mexicans and, according to international agencies, Mexico produces around 1 million tonnes of electronic waste each year.

According to information provided by the United Nations University (UNU), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), each Mexican produces between 7 and 10 kilograms of electronic waste each year.

With those numbers, Mexico ranks third in electronic waste production in Latin America, claimed the expert Heberto Ferreira from the Ecosystems and Sustainability Research Institute at the National School of Higher Education (ENES), Morelia campus.

This excessive waste generation is a result of inadequate public policies and bad habits from users who tend to simply throw away their electronic devices (mobile phones, tablets, and microwaves) instead of having them disassembled and recycled.

Ferreira added that the main problem, other than a lack of awareness among users, is that there are no public policies aimed at tackling electronic waste production.

He mentioned that, at the international level, there are initiatives such as StEP which are meant to regulate the handling of electronic waste.

StEP is a multi-stakeholder initiative strongly supporting strategic approaches towards sustainability such as circular economy and zero waste/emissions.

However, Mexico seems to be lagging behind in terms of public policies and regulations. Whilst Argentina has between 20 and 30 laws meant to address the handling of e-waste, Mexico only has one and it is already outdated.

Electronic waste causes heavy-metal contamination. When these metals are left exposed, they can contaminate water sources and even the air we breathe.

If nothing is done to handle and recycle electronic waste, given Mexico’s current population growth rate, experts have estimated that the country will generate 2 million tonnes of e-waste by 2050.
 

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