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Eradicating E-Waste

In 1988 the estimated number of personal computers worldwide was 105 million. By
2002 those figures had swollen to more than a billion units. Unfortunately, as we purchase new computers and other electronic products, we face the problem of what to do with millions of obsolete or antiquated components.

 The disposal of these products, sometimes known as e-waste, is posing environmental and health risks because they contain a plethora of dangerous and toxic substances. For example, the conventional computer monitor may contain phosphor, barium, hexavalent chromium, and up to 4 kg of lead. Other materials typically found in e-waste include mercury, cadmium, beryllium, and brominated flame-retardants. Current figures indicate that only 10 percent of e-waste is recycled, and only a small portion of that refuse is handled in an environmentally responsible manner.

Many government agencies as well as computer and electronic manufacturers have been slow to react to the mounting problem and hazard of e-waste. As a result, concerned citizens need to be proactive by purchasing products that have energy-efficient labels and are easily upgradeable. Check with government agencies to locate recycling depots that handle e-waste in an environmentally responsible manner.

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Canadian Idle?

Are you in interested in safeguarding your health, protecting the environment, and saving money? If so, the next time you start your car, don't idle the engine for an unnecessary length of time.

Automobile experts claim that even on cold winter days, most modern vehicles can be driven within 10 to 30 seconds of being started.

It has been reported that the typical vehicle generates approximately 2.4 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) for each litre of gasoline it uses, and excessive idling of vehicles needlessly spews millions of tons of other noxious substances into our atmosphere. Contaminants from automobiles contribute greatly to poor air quality and smog and have been linked to a variety of serious respiratory ailments and other diseases.

Besides protecting our health and the environment, car owners can also save money by reducing excessive idling. Ten minutes of vehicle idling gobbles up approximately 100 L of gas per year. With gasoline prices steadily rising, shutting off the engine will lead to considerable savings.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency, if every Canadian driver avoided five minutes of idling a day, we would lessen CO2 emissions by one million tons and save 1.6 million L of gas each year. That's not just idle chatter.



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