Wednesday August 21, 2019
Home World Toxic mine: G...

Toxic mine: Gold worth £7 billion up for grabs, but its buried under 42 million tons of e-waste

0
//

eWaste

By NewsGram Staff Writer

A report by the United Nations University (UNU) has revealed that the amount of “e-waste” generated globally is increasing by two million tons a year and will reach 50 megatons by 2018 – with Britons among the planet’s biggest generators of hi-tech junk.

The study warns that less than 16 per cent of global e-waste is being diverted from landfill into recycling and reuse – representing the loss of an “urban mine” of potentially recyclable materials worth more than £34 billion.

Gold worth more than £7 billion is being thrown away amid the 42 million tons of electronic and electrical equipment discarded by consumers, according to United Nations experts.

Among the resources being lost annually, as millions of items from mobile phones to fridges are inadequately disposed of, are 300 tons of gold (equivalent to more than a 10th of global production in 2013) as well as 1,000 tons of silver worth £400 million and 16 megatons of steel with a value of £6.5 billion.

The UNU research found that rather than being dominated by discarded electronics such as mobile phones or computers, the majority (nearly 60 per cent) of e-waste consisted of large and small domestic appliances or office equipment.

UN under-secretary and rector of the Tokyo-based UNU, David Malone said: “Worldwide, e-waste constitutes a valuable ‘urban mine’ – a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials. At the same time, the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a ‘toxic mine’ that must be managed with extreme care. There is a large portion of e-waste that is not being collected and treated in an environmentally sound manner.”

The report also identified Britain among the world’s most profligate producers of e-waste, ranking fifth in the weight of material discarded per inhabitant, with each Briton generating 23.5 kg each year.

The UK was also sixth worldwide in the total amount of e-waste the country generated, with some 1.5 megatons – barely 100,000 tons less than India which has 20 times the population.

The UNU report said that only one-third of e-waste in the UK is recycled through recognised schemes – a figure that must reach 85 per cent under EU rules by 2019.

Federico Magalini, a UNU researcher said, “In the UK we are seeing that the ‘lifespan’ of an electric or electronic product may be particularly short.

“We should not simply try to stop consumption to minimise the amount of waste being generated, but should instead make sure that it is properly collected and recycled. There is an opportunity to create jobs and extract those resources currently being discarded”, he added.

The fast-growing mountain of waste also contains alarming quantities of toxins, including 4,400 tons of ozone-depleting chemicals and 2.2 megatons of lead glass weighing more than the equivalent of the Empire State Building.

Heavy metals and other chemicals commonly found in electronics such as mercury, cadmium and beryllium can leach into the ground and water supplies, causing kidney and liver damage and impaired mental development.

Next Story

Gold Price May Increase to Rs 40,000 per 10 Gram by Diwali

Highest gold rates to be seen this Diwali

0
gold price
By Diwali, a huge surge can be seen in Gold rates. Pixabay

Amid global growth concerns and heightened trade tensions between the US and China, gold prices might cross the Rs 40,000 mark by Diwali, analysts have said.

Typically, the demand for gold reflects the expectations about the future, the prices of the precious metal tends to rise amid uncertain economic situations or political upheaval.

Currently, the October contract of gold was priced at Rs 37,995 per 10 gram on the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX).

“Demand for the precious metal may slow down slightly owing to some easing in trade tension between US and China, but over the trend is negative. We see gold prices around Rs 39,000 to 40,000 per 10 gram by Diwali, ” said Anuj Gupta of Angel Brooking.

Gupta explained that the gold prices were surging primarily owing to the decline in global growth rate.

gold
Gold price will get to a record high level by the end of this year. Pixabay

Experts globally are also suggesting investments in gold and other precious metals amid these uncertain times as an insurance against economic uncertainty.

“We now recommend all investors have a full allocation to precious metal investments in their portfolio,” said a Gohring and Rozencwajg report.

“We believe the bear market in gold has run its course and a new bull market has begun.”

Lower interest rate by central banks and the ongoing trade dispute between the two biggest economies, the US and China, were supporting the gain in gold prices.

Besides, latest worry came over the recession warning via bond market. The inversion in the US bond yield hit levels last seen in 2007, just ahead of the global financial crises.

gold price increase
Gold prices were surging primarily owing to the decline in global growth rate. Pixabay

This came even as the US decided to defer the rise in trade tariffs it announced earlier as major export market showed renewed signs of weakness.

Also Read: Gold Prices Surged 20 Per Cent Since January 1

Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, reported negative growth, hence nearing the risk of a recession. The UK had already reported a contraction in growth amid Brexit woes and China added fuel to fire after it released weaker than expected factory data.

Investment firm Morgan Stanley had said that if the trade war further soared via the US further raising tariffs on all goods imported from China to 25 per cent, “we would see the global economy entering recession in three quarters”. (IANS)