E-waste Flows, Resource Recovery and Improvement of Legal Framework in Pakistan
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Electronic Waste (E-waste) is becoming the world’s most rapidly expanding solid waste of the world. Approximately 40 million tons of E-waste per year is produced worldwide. Pakistan receives thousands of tons of E-waste from developed countries such as the USA and Europe. More E-waste is expected to arrive due to strict laws being implemented recently in China and India regarding E-waste import from other countries. At present, the amount of imported E-waste and recovered materials from the imported E-waste in Pakistan is not well quantified or studied. Therefore, the objectives of this research are to estimate the amount of electronic waste imported in Pakistan and to assess potential quantities of various metallic and non-metallic components which can be extracted from the E-waste and hence recycled. Data collection regions were selected based upon factors such as availability of national entry points, electronic markets and E-waste recycling markets. The import data was then collected from the office of Pakistan Customs and various estimates, such as amount of E-waste generated, amounts of various components they contained, were worked out. As a result, it was found that on average 95,415 tons of E-waste is imported annually into Pakistan annually. That it contains a variety of metals such as gold, silver, copper, plus plastics and glass. It was also found out that all the recycling activity takes place in informal sectors without any consideration to environmental pollution and safety of workers. Improvements in the existing legal framework regarding import and recycling of E-waste have been proposed such as take back, prohibition of illegal import, good environmental management etc.