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Informal electronic waste recycling in Pakistan
Division of Environmental Strategies Research - Fms, Royal Institute of Technology KTH, Stockholm, Sweden; Centre for Sustainable Communications (CESC), Royal Institute of Technology KTH, Stockholm, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7131-7353
Division of Environmental Strategies Research - Fms, Royal Institute of Technology KTH, Stockholm, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: The Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management, ISSN 1088-1697, Vol. 42, no 3, p. 222-235Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is growing dramatically all over the world. The fast growth and diffusion of ICTs, their early obsolescence and short life have made electronic waste (e-waste) to the fastest growing waste stream in the world. This waste stream is valuable and highly toxic at the same time, and therefore it requires proper handling. Most e-waste currently ends up in developing countries, like Pakistan, where it is usually recycled informally. Informal recycling involves crude processes, which harm the environment and have severe impacts on the health of recycling workers. This paper analyses the e-waste flows and the informal recycling system in Pakistan, and related governance challenges. Based on field studies in three major cities in Pakistan, we investigate why the e-waste flows keep entering the country, the routes through which they end up in the informal recycling, the actual recycling processes, and identify the various stakeholders and their roles. The analysis illustrates the poor governance that results from weak enforcement of legislation, the complexities emerging with numerous stakeholders, the profitability of informal recycling, little concern for the health damaging exposure for workers from poorest and most vulnerable people in society, and the lack of awareness of the hazards involved. The paper highlights how this business is a market driven entity without priority for proper e-waste handling, which is also hampered by lacking characteristics of good governance, which make it a challenge to control this business.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Chester, United States: Widener University * Department of Civil Engineering , 2016. Vol. 42, no 3, p. 222-235
Keywords [en]
E-waste, Pakistan, import routes, informal recycling system, stakeholder mapping, recycling processes, governance challenges
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-143774DOI: 10.5276/JSWTM.2016.222Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84988876892Local ID: Chester, United StatesOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-143774DiVA, id: diva2:1167088
Available from: 2017-12-18 Created: 2017-12-18 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Anderberg, Stefan

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