Humans generated a staggering 44.7 million metric tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) in 2016 — the equivalent of 4,500 Eiffel Towers, and five per cent more than the electrical and electronic goods discarded just two years earlier, says a new study.
The trend is set to continue, with volumes of e-waste expected to rise to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021.
A report on the study — carried out by the International Telecommunication Union, the UN University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association — published in The Global E-waste Monitor 2017, lays blame on falling prices that make electronic devices affordable and widely available.
In developing countries, a growing middle class with disposable incomes means that more electronic goods are being bought and replaced more frequently, according to the study. Asia, with its growing economies, accounts for more than 40 per cent of the e-waste generated globally.