30 September 2018, Quezon City. The Ayala Heights Village Association (AHVA) yesterday conducted a collection program for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), or what is commonly known as e-waste.
With the assistance from the “Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project,” the collection program gathered assorted e-wastes brought by residents to the drop-off point located at the clubhouse of this exclusive village in Quezon City (PCB stands for polychlorinated biphenyl, a highly-toxic mixture used as dielectric fluid in old transformers and capacitors).
The said project is led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) and supported by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Asked what motivated the association to conduct the e-waste collection event, Moppet Gonzales, President, AHVA, said: “We want to help in sustaining a healthy environment, especially for the next generation. In our own little ways, our residents can decide to make a lifestyle change in favor of Mother Earth.”
The drop-off point manned by a team from the EcoWaste Coalition collected broken. obsolete or unwanted cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid-crystal display (LCD) television sets, refrigerators, air conditioners, laptops, desktop printers, electric fans, and media players. The items were later brought to an EMB-accredited facility in Laguna for safe recycling.
“These discarded electrical and electronic items contain hazardous substances that can harm human health and contaminate the environment if improperly recycled or disposed of such as through open burning and dumping,” said Primo Morillo, E-Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
Among these hazardous substances are cadmium, lead and mercury and other heavy metals, flame retardant chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, which generates byproduct persistent organic pollutants (POPs), particularly dioxins and furans, when burned.
“In the absence of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy where manufacturers take back their e-waste, we find it important for an organized system to be put in place toward safe e-waste management in order to protect the health of the informal waste workers, including women and children, who bear the brunt of toxic pollution,” Morillo said.
As noted in the “Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project” document, “the bulk of WEEE end up in the unregulated informal sector which are oblivious to the health and environmental health hazards associated with its improper handling.”
According to the project document, “this is particularly striking since poverty is the main driver of WEEE recycling among the lower income brackets and who are, at the same time, most vulnerable to adverse health impact of improper WEEE handling.”