Sustainable Electronic-Waste Management: Implications on Environmental and Human Health

  • K. Grace Pavithra
  • Panneer Selvam Sundar Rajan
  • D. Balaji
  • K. P. GopinathEmail author
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 33)


The increasing level of Electronic-waste and its improper disposal and unsafe treatment pose significant risks to the environment and human health. They raise several challenges to the sustainable development goals. Electronic-waste is considered one of the fastest-growing pollution problems all over the world as per the United Nations environment programme estimates. This rapid growth is influenced by planned product extinction, lower prices, and change of lifestyle. Unfortunately, a major amount of Electronic-waste is recycled in the informal sector and results in toxic exposures to the recyclers, especially to women and children. Electronic-waste consists of valuable metals as well as environmental contaminants especially polybrominated diphenyl ether and polychlorinated biphenyls. The chemical composition of Electronic-waste changes with the innovation of new technologies and pressure from environmental organizations. As the reprocessing and recycling technologies with minimal environmental impacts are found to be expensive, rich countries export unknown quantities of Electronic-waste to developing countries, where recycling techniques including burning and dissolution in strong acids result in localized contaminations of water and food chains. This chapter deals with the generation of electronic-waste and its disposal pathways, and it especially covers the various contaminants that affect human health as well as our environment.


Industrialization Electronic-waste Sustainable development goals Human health Environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Grace Pavithra
    • 1
  • Panneer Selvam Sundar Rajan
    • 1
  • D. Balaji
    • 1
  • K. P. Gopinath
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringSSN College of EngineeringChennaiIndia

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