|Solid waste treatment at a plant in HCM City. — Photo baotainguyenmoitruong.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Electronic waste levels in HCM City – from old and broken television sets, computers, tablets, and mobile phones – have reached alarming levels because of the huge quantities discarded every day and limited collection and treatment.
Since 2011 around 4,062 tonnes have been produced by old TV sets, 81 tonnes by mobile phones and 1,800 tonnes by computers, according to a recent study by the HCM City Environmental and Tropical Technique Institute.
Electronic wastes come from households, offices, schools, hotels, factories, distributors, repairers, neighbouring provinces and even illegal imports.
It is predicted that by 2020 the city will generate around 11,000 tonnes a year.
Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper quoted Dr Tran Minh Tri of the institute as saying HCM City is the country's biggest economic hub, and "along with development, electronic waste will increase significantly".
"However, electronic waste collection and treatment in the city is limited and this kind of waste can cause harmful effects on people's health and [on the] ozone layer."
The management of electronic wastes is governed not by specific legislation but by laws about solid and harmful wastes, manufacturers and distributors do not participate in it and most treatment plants are very small and unlicensed.
"Local authorities have not paid enough attention to treatment of electronic waste, and most of it is treated like household waste," Tri warned.
Recently the Government issued a decision about the collection and treatment of electronic wastes to assign responsibility on manufacturers for their entire life cycle from production to junking.
This is expected to push producers to improve their technologies and produce environment-friendly products.
However, though the decision has come into effect, electronic waste collection and treatment have not received enough attention from either authorities or manufacturers.
"This situation will cause severe environmental pollution and bad impacts on people's health," Tri said. — VNS