The forgotten “gold mountain” in Vietnam
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VietNamNet Bridge – Every Vietnamese person discharges one kilo of electronic waste every year. The waste could be a “mountain of gold” if Vietnam can exploit it.
According to the Environment Technology Institute under the Hanoi University of Technology, Vietnam discharges 120,000-150,000 tons of electric equipment and household electronics (TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners), and 200,000-300,000 computers every year.
Besides, the “mountain of gold” gets higher every year with a big amount of refused mobile phones. This is a big source of electronics waste in Vietnam because of the short life circle of the products--just one or two years.
The waste can bring money
According to Nguyen Van Phuoc, MA, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department for Natural Resources and the Environment, the city has a very big amount of solid waste, including electronics waste, about 7000 tons per day, or 1.7 million tons a year.
The urban solid waste has been increasing rapidly by 8-10 percent per annum. About 1500 tons of industrial waste is discharged from industrial production bases a day, which includes 200-300 tons of hazardous waste. The noteworthy thing is that 10-25 percent of the volume is recyclable, such as plastics, paper or metals.
Professor Nguyen Van Ngo, Chair of the Vietnam Radio-Electronics Association REV, said that electronics waste should be considered as a valuable resource. In developed economies, the waste has been recycled to serve humans.
Scientists have pointed out that electronics waste could be even more valuable than gold iron. In general, one ton of electronics waste can contain the volume of gold which is 17 times higher than the gold content in one ton of gold ore.
The volume of gold found in every 41 mobile phones is equal to the volume of gold found in one ton of gold ore.
It is very costly to exploit metals from the earth. Meanwhile, it would be much less costly to find metals from electronics and household machine wastes.
A report of the United Nation showed that in poor countries, refused computers, mobile phones have been thrown away, while they have not been collected for recycling. In China, four tons of gold, 28 tons of silver and 6000 tons of copper contained in refused computers and mobile phones are thrown away.
Scientists urge to set up electronics waste recycling industry
Dr Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, developed countries have Recycling Law which stipulates detailed provisions on the recycling of electric equipment and household electric products.
The law clearly shows the manufacturers’ responsibility to their products. They have to collect the used products and minimize the use of toxic substances, such as lead or mercury in products.
At present, the Circular No. 30--stipulating the allowed concentrations of some toxic substances in electrics and electronics is the only legal document relating to the issue of dealing with electronics waste. Meanwhile, the regulations on collecting, processing refused products are still being drafted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Professor Nguyen Van Ngo believes that the best method to deal with electronics waste is to define the responsibilities of the links in the production and distribution chain.
He thinks that in the immediate time, the government should allow to set up some enterprises which collect electronics waste, and provide land fund for gathering and recycling electronics waste.
Ngo has also urged to perfect the legal framework on the issue to ensure that the electronics waste can be recycled in an effective way and not to cause the environment pollution.
Source: Dat Viet