According to the definition by Department of Environment Malaysia, 2007, e-waste is defined as waste from the assembly of electrical or electronic appliances that consist of components such as accumulators, mercury-switches, glass from cathode-ray tubes and other activated glass or polychlorinated biphenyl-capacitors, or contaminated with cadmium, mercury, lead, nickel, chromium, copper, lithium, silver, manganese or polychlorinated biphenyl.
In Malaysia, e-waste is categorized as scheduled waste under the code SW 110, First Schedule, Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations 2005. This electronic waste or commonly known as e-waste has wide range of electronic or electrical equipment from various segment of entities for domestic as well as industrial usage. Now generation of technology devices such notebooks, mobile phones, air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines become important household appliances in human life nowadays.
Nowadays, the numbers of development in electronic and electrical industries are showing tremendous growth in world. However, over several years ago, the researchers give the attention focusing on the impact of e-waste to the environment. The number of e-waste generated was 52718 has been reported by DOE Malaysia in year 2007. In 2008, there was significant increase as 688,000 metric tonnes of e-waste has been generated and it is estimated Malaysia will generate e-waste about 1.11 million metric tonnes in 2020. The waste generated also increase significantly parallel to the production of these products. E-waste is becoming a major problem since it can also effect to the human health of it is not treated properly.
Electrical appliances consist a thousand of chemical compound that including metal such as lead, mercury and it is a major source of toxins and carcinogens. Many components of such equipment are considered toxic and are non-biodegradable. As it is discarded by the way of either legal or illegal dumping, these toxic compounds have potential to leach out into the landfills. The issues arise from e-waste dumping is turning into a serious problem, since there is no best practicable method to dispose it.
Electronics and electrical waste is becoming a global pollution problem due to environmental concern since there are many components of such equipments are considered non-biological which cannot be degraded and toxic as they contain heavy metals inside the equipment. Emergence of economy sector in developing as well as developed country cause serious problem in e-waste management. Improper e-waste dumping, shipping used component of electronic and electrical equipment over boundaries, inefficient disposal method and problem related to location and facilities to dispose this kind of wastes also increase the significant challenge in e-waste issues in order to sustain environmental development.
The purpose of this survey is to assess the public awareness regarding the hazardous of e-waste and the management of commercial waste of electrical and electronic appliances in Putrajaya. The premises and the person that carry up business associated with electrical and electronic equipments are subjected to this survey. All those who deal with commercial e-waste such any people who sells, resells, retails, repairs or disposes of commercial e-wastes as well as other person that related in electrical and electronic stream especially consumer. The objective includes:-
To find amount of generated e-waste in Putrajaya.
To assess about awareness on the proper management of commercial e-waste.
To review disposal method in Malaysia today.
To review the regulation that available and intend the responsible bodies in this country to formulate further solutions for the environmentally sound management.
The aim of the study is to identify generation status of e-waste in Putrajaya. Improper e-waste dumping, shipping used component of electronic and electrical equipment over boundaries, inefficient disposal method and lack of good disposal facilities cause serious problem in e-waste. Therefore, the study is required as some reasonable steps should be taken to ensure the waste is dealt with properly by others further down of electronic and electronic user.
The study will be conducted in Putrajaya to gather the information on the public attention regarding the proper management of commercial e-waste. Questionnaire will be distributed and data will be used as primary data to know the level of awareness on the management of e-waste among people that engage in the stream of commerce with respect to electrical and electronic products. Respondent will be selected randomly to fill the questionnaire form. It is aimed to identify the level of knowledge on hazard of e-waste among communities.
The purpose of this research also to know the effectiveness of environmental regulation in Malaysia; hence this explanatory research which is a combination of literature review, data collection and interviews can be used to encourage the responsible bodies to formulate further solutions on the issues associated with e-waste. The study is also subjected to propose environmentally sound management of this scheduled waste.
Issue on e-waste arise as the production of electronic appliances as well as its waste that generated is in high volumes. The electronic or electric devices usually contain toxic and hazardous metal compound inside such lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium often exist in the equipment. Besides that, in some countries, their local authorities do not regulate the proper ways for e-wastes management to its disposal or recycling. For most cases, e-waste can legally be dumped into municipal solid waste landfill site. However, recycling is an alternative for e-waste land filling in order to overcome traffic problem. This method has been popular and become concern due economical as well as environmental problem. Disposal of e-waste either by land filling or recycling, it still require to meet few environmental regulatory requirement.
Presently in the global situation, generation, transboundary movement and disposal waste of electrical and electronic equipment are becoming issues of concern to solid waste management professionals, environmentalists, international agencies and governments.
The most high-profile international instrument for controlling e-waste disposal is the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. This Convention was initiated in order to cope numerous international problems regarding hazardous waste trafficking. The Basel Convention was the first global environmental treaty regulating transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous waste.
In Malaysia, Department of Environment become one of the important relevant bodies in government which is responsible to establish the basic environmental rights and to enforce legislation on e-waste management. This government agency which is under supervision of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) carry out the objective to enhance quality of life of the people as well as to maintain and preserve the environment from pollution. Environmental Quality (Scheduled Waste) Regulations 2005 (SWR 2005) is developed to provide a basis in e-waste issues that applicable to the household and industrial and sector.
Regulation on e-waste was developed in 1989 was known as Environmental Quality (Prescribed Premises) (Treatment Disposal Facilities for Scheduled Wastes) Regulations, 1989 to control on collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of e-waste. However, to cope the issues of this solid waste to become efficient, Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations has been regulated and replaced 1989 regulation. It categorized e-waste as scheduled wastes and makes sense Malaysia to control transboundary movement of e-waste. Currently, the government has provide guidelines to ensure proper cycle on e-waste recycling or safe disposal.
Other associated regulations and guidelines related to e-wastes under the jurisdiction of DOE are shown below:
Environmental Quality Act 1974
Environmental Quality (Licensing) Regulations 1977
Environmental Quality (Schedule Waste) Regulations 2005
Environmental (Scheduled Waste) Regulations 2005 (Amendment) 2007
Environmental Quality (Prescribed Premises)(Scheduled Waste Treatment And Disposal Facilities) Order 1989
Environmental Quality (Prescribed Premises)(Scheduled Waste Treatment And Disposal Facilities) Regulations 1989
Environmental Quality (Refrigerant Management) Regulations 1999
Environmental Quality (Prescribed Conveyance) (Schedule Wastes) Order 2005
Guidelines on Import of Scheduled Waste EG4/94, Department of Environment
Guidelines on Export of Scheduled Waste EG1/93, Department of Environment
Guidelines for the Classification of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Malaysia. Department of Environment. 2008.
In Malaysia e-waste recyclers are classified into “full and partial”. Full recyclers are those material recovery facilities with the capacity to recycles all part of electronic equipment they receive, while ‘Partial recyclers’ are those with limited capability to recycle all part of e-waste they receive, that is to say that there activities are centred on refurbishment for reuse purpose, although they also assist in dismantling and separation before sending to full recyclers.
The path of failure to control the issues in e-waste start even before this appliance enters the marketplace. First, manufacturers refuse to eliminate hazardous materials or design for disassembly. Second, government policies fail to hold manufacturers responsible for end-of-life management of their products. Thus, finally, consumers are the unwitting recipients of a toxic product abandoned by those with the greatest ability to prevent problems. Left with few choices, consumers readily will turn to recycling and take illegal action to dispose their e-waste.
The six broad categories of illegal e-waste disposal as follows:
Direct illegal disposal e.g. fly tipping
Use of unlicensed waste management sites
Use of unlicensed carriers, brokers or waste tourists
Mis-description of waste
Unregulated recycling and other disposal activities
In 2005, the EPA conducted a ‘snapshot’ analysis of import-export of e-waste from United State into several countries with legitimate disposal facility. By far the largest volume of broken CRTs reported to the EPA is exported to Malaysia. Approximately 72 percent (or 51 million kilos) of the exports for which the EPA received notification are sent to one legitimate facility in Malaysia. Canada and Korea, the second largest receivers, imported a substantially smaller volume of CRTs of around 16 and 10 per cent respectively. Compared to these importers (especially Malaysia), Brazil imports very little (approximately 1 per cent).
Table : Estimated export volume by country (kilo)
Canada (2 facilities)
Malaysia (1 facility)
Brazil (1 facility)
Korea (3 facilities)
Component of e-waste is very diverse and differs in the products from another which may contain more than thousand different substances, which may fall either under hazardous or non-hazardous types. But, many substances contained in e-waste are considered hazardous waste. There are many sources that used for the production of electronic and electrical appliances; it can be either natural or synthetic materials. For example, the metal such chromium which is naturally occurring substance is relatively harmless in nature that used for proposes of manufacturing of electronic equipment. However, it become harmful due to its toxicity if improper disposal that can effect human health and the environment.
The combination of these substances, along with smelting and burning of waste, causes local air pollution and activities from acid bath stripping will contaminate ground and surface water. These toxins also pose potential health problems including lung disease, lead poisoning and cancer.
E-waste that generate the contaminant including (OIPC):
Lead in cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and solder;
Arsenic in older CRTs;
Antimony trioxide as flame retardant;
Polybrominated flame retardants in plastic casings, cables and circuit boards;
Selenium in circuit boards as a power supply rectifier;
Cadmium in circuit boards and semiconductors;
Chromium in steel as corrosion protection;
Mercury in switches and housing.
There are some more details on some of the hazards posed by e-waste toxins:
Arsenic can be categorized very extremely toxic metallic element. As it has entered the environment, it is totally cannot be destroyed. Exposure to this metal can cause serious health effects because it has potential to develop various types of cancer such skin cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer. However, its semiconductor is important in conversion of electric current to laser light and the arsine gas AsH3 is widely used as dopant gas in the microchip industry.
Barium is also metallic element which is often to form toxic compounds when react with air.
Barium as a drying agent used in sparkplugs and fluorescent lamps. Exposure to low concentration of water-soluble barium may cause breathing difficulties, increased blood pressures, stomach irritation, brain swelling and damage to the brains, kidney and liver. It has tendency to cause paralyses and fatality when expose to high concentration of this water soluble barium.
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether, Polybrominated Biphenyl and Tetrabromobisphenol are chemicals that are added to makes flame retardant and to protect against the risk of accidental fires in a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment. However, combustion of electronic appliances containing this halogenated material cause formation toxic emissions gases such furan and dioxins which are human carcinogenic.
Lead is a malleable soft metal which is known has many applications and ideal as a solder. Lead-tin solder has been used widely in electronic components to printed wiring boards, in the glass of Cathode Ray Tubes for purposes of television or computer screens. Lead can cause several unwanted effects, such as it can affect the kidneys, disruption of nervous systems and brain damage. When people exposure to high concentration of lead even within short time period, it still has potential to cause fatigue, headache, coma and fatality. Lead has same characteristic with mercury as it tend to accumulate in an individual organism and being transferred through food chain.
Mercury is one of the most toxic with the characteristic of bioaccumulation. As mercury get entered into the environment, it cause harm to humans health, quality of animals life as well as plants. It has very serious poisonous effects when expose to this element as it causes brain and liver damage if ingested or inhaled. Mercury metal has many uses in switches and other electrical applications. A certain amount of mercury is used in fluorescent lamps.
The methodology is a path line to approach the objective of study. In the methodology section, it should be planned in systematic and has a good strategies in order to obtain the important information associated of e-waste. Good data collection and analysis will interpret the future situation regards to the issues. This study can be classified as initial explanatory research using combination of literature review, data collection and interviews. Some of the information is extracted by primary as well as secondary data from other journalist.
A survey is also conducted to assess the public awareness regarding the hazardous of e-waste and the management of commercial waste of electrical and electronic appliances in Putrajaya. The premises and the person that carry up business associated with electrical and electronic equipments are subjected to this survey. All those who deal with commercial e-waste such any people who sells, resells, retails, repairs or disposes of commercial e-wastes as well as other person that related in electrical and electronic stream especially consumer.
E-waste has significant environmental problem, especially in urban cities since rapid change in technology products, low initial cost of electronic devices that cause fast-growing surplus of this kind of wastes in Malaysia. The electronic and electrical shops and outlets provide many kinds of products to their customers such as notebooks, mobile phones, batteries, televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators as well as washing machines. The repair centres and individuals who generate income by repairing and troubleshooting of electronic equipment are also subjected to fill up the questionnaire that will be distributed.
The target respondents that will be selected in this study are those people that engage in the stream of commerce with respect to electrical and electronic products the owners of electrical or electrical company; including sellers, resellers or retailers. Repair centre as well as the key figures in the e-waste sector which is recycling company (Pusat Kitar Semula – Putrajaya) are also subjected to be respondent in this study. People who are staying in Putrajaya residential area will be selected randomly to participate in this survey in order to get the information from the communities on their knowledge associated with e-waste.
All the respondents will be selected randomly to fill questionnaire form. They are requested to provide the information on how they manage their e-waste as well as the most preferable disposal method of e-waste that are taken by respondents to sustain the environment. The survey also aimed to identify on the communities knowledge level on hazard of e-waste since e-waste can threatens both the environment and human health. The question on public awareness and general knowledge about e-waste also will be asked in the questionnaire to get more information from this target group. The respondents are also required to identify the local government agencies that are responsible for the planning and enforcement of regulatory requirements to determine level of their knowledge on e-waste management and guidelines.
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Issue on e-waste
Establish Objective & Scope of Study
Repair EE shop/individual
Analyze the data
Conclusion & Recommendation