Before making that yuletide electronic gadget purchase, think of the environment. This was the call made by environment justice group BAN Toxics as part of its campaign in the Philippines to reduce, if not completely eliminate, electronic waste or e-waste. Anna Kapunan, BAN Toxics’ campaign and advocacy specialist, noted that electronic equipment has become a default Christmas purchase. "We need to realize that our desire to acquire the latest gadgets has serious implications to the environment and health," she said. Mobile phones, computers, even appliances like washing machines, are known to contain hazardous materials and toxic metals that can be released into the environment. Kapunan said Christmas consumerism combined with high dependence on electronics contribute to an increase of e-waste after the yuletide season. Electronic devices, many of which contain mercury, lead, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride, that are discarded, whether they are still working or not, are considered e-wastes. "E-waste is an urgent topic of concern, especially for countries such as the Philippines, where discarded electronics from developed countries are often exported as secondhand goods," said Myline Macabuhay, BAN Toxics’ policy and research specialist. The United Nations Environment Program warned that there would be a 500 percent increase in e-waste by 2020.
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