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The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Environmental disaster

The effects of e-waste on the planet
Halle Packard
Used batteries sit on a table before going to a recycling center on Nov. 2, 2023.

The world has changed in recent decades.

A world run from paper and pens to one run by technology. 

Looking around, it’s impossible to not see cell phones or computers. They are everywhere. 

With technology surrounding us, so does electronic waste.

Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is any product containing an electric component that has reached the end of its lifespan. 

According to the UN, the world produces more than 50 million tons of e-waste a year, such as old computer monitors, discarded TV’s and abandoned tablets.

The worth of those products is more than the GDP of most countries. That’s unacceptable.

With people upgrading their devices to new ones every year, often that technology contributes to the extreme e-waste. This kind of excessive waste can have a harmful effect on the soil, air, water and on humans overall. 

According to recycle track systems called Elytus, when technology is disposed of by melting or shredding, toxic particles get into the air that can cause respiratory issues and air pollution. This can lead to irreversible damage to wildlife and humans in the area. 

If e-waste is dumped into landfills and not properly disposed of, heavy metals can be absorbed into the soil and contaminate groundwater and crops. The affected water and plants can be consumed by animals and cause health problems. 

When groundwater gets contaminated, it can lead to the pollution of streams, rivers and lakes. If drunk by humans, it can cause liver and kidney problems as well as have detrimental effects on the reproductive system. This could lead to birth defects.

E-waste has irreversible effects on the planet. 

The best fix would be to cut out technology entirely, but since that’s not realistic, the most practical fix is to properly e-cycle. This way, things can be properly disposed of, or refurbished to make new ones. 

The contribution to humanity is to check for surrounding areas where old technology and batteries can properly be disposed of.

The Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center is a good place to discard any old batteries while helping the environment.

They say the goal is to leave the planet better than it was found, but that’s impossible. The only hope now is to work to leave it in a better state than it’s currently in.   

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About the Contributor
Halle Packard
Halle Packard, Opinion Editor
Halle Packard is a fourth-year journalist and the opinion editor for The Current. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach at sunset, blasting music in the car with the windows down, and going exploring.

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