What are the sources and effects of E-pollution?
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Definition:- Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for refurbishment, reuse, resale, salvage recycling through material recovery, or disposal are also considered E-waste.

Sources of e-waste:-
1. Waste generated from the products used for data processing such as computers, computer devices like monitor, speakers, keyboards, printers etc.
2. Electronic devices used for entertainment like TV, DVDs, and CD players.
3. Equipment or devices used for communication like phones, landline phones, fax etc.
4. Household equipment’s like vacuum cleaner, microwave ovens, washing machines, air conditioners etc.
5. Audio, visual components such as VCRs, Stereo equipment etc.

Effects of e-waste
1)Effects on environment:-
a)E-waste releases toxic chemicals, causing air pollution.
b)Electronic products make up a million tons of waste in landfills.
c)Electronic devices negatively impact soil, water, and air.
d)Components like polybrominated flame retardants, barium, and lead negatively impact human health.
2)Effects on human health:- a)As e-waste breaks down, it releases toxic heavy metals. Such heavy metals include lead, arsenic, and cadmium. When these toxins leach into the soil, they influence the plants and trees that are crowing from this soil. Thus, these toxins can enter the human food supply, which can lead to birth defects as well as a number of other health complications.
b)E-waste that is improperly disposed of by residents or businesses also leads to toxins entering groundwater. Toxins like lead, barium, mercury, and lithium are considered carcinogenic(having the potential to cause cancer). This impacts humans that rely on this water.
c)When e-waste is disposed of at the landfill, it’s usually burned by incinerators on site. This process can release hydrocarbons in the atmosphere, which pollutes the air that many animals and humans rely on.
d)The health effects of the toxins released by e-waste on humans include birth defects and damage to the brain, heart, liver, kidney and skeletal system. They will also significantly affect the human body’s nervous and reproductive systems.


E-waste pollution is a less talked about form of pollution that refers to different discarded, defective or obsolete electrical & electronic equipment such as computers, TVs, refrigerators, printers, mobile phones, digital cameras etc.



  1. PCB: Printed Circuit Boards are used in almost all electronic devices. They contain Lead which is used for soldering.
  2. Batteries: Again used in almost all electronics. It contains heavy metals like nickel, cadmium & lithium.
  3. CRTs: All pre-LCD/LED era display devices used CRTs. Hence there will be millions of discarded CRT devices which will not be reused. They contain large quantities of Lead and Phosphors (not to be confused with Phosphorous).
  4. ICs & Semiconductors: Used extensively in modern electronics. They contain Silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony & cadmium.
  5. Parts & Accessories: Plastics & metals from printers, keyboard, monitors, CDs, DVDs, VCRs etc.


Larger quantities of e-waste is generated in developed nations as compared to developing countries because in developed and forward countries people tend to throw away end of life equipment rather than reusing them.



E-waste pollution is not only a big environmental threat but also a major threat for human health. Following hazards arise from various recycling processes on e-waste.


  1. Virtually every living organism is impacted by the dangerous chemical pollutants that are released into the atmosphere and underground water when e-Waste is improperly disposed.
  2. The polluted soil and air contaminates our vegetables, crops, flowers, grasses, herbs, plants, saplings, shrubs & trees.
  3. Metals like Lead, Cadmium & Mercury are known to accumulate in living organisms via the food chain.


Health Hazards to Humans:

  1. Adverse effects on fetus and early child development.
  2. Some of the metals like beryllium, cadmium and lead are potential carcinogens i.e. prolonged exposure to them may cause cancer.
  3. Precursor to cardiovascular diseases.
  4. Lead is toxic to the kidneys, accumulating in the body and eventually affecting the nervous and reproductive systems.
  5. May lead to Asthma & Bronchitis.
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