Efficient Application of Artificial intelligence to Identify and Treat
E-Waste

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is becoming major thread to the whole world. Its toxic emissions mixed with virgin soil and air and causing harmful effects to the entire biota either directly or indirectly.

Background

Electronic  industry  is  the  world’s  largest  and innovative  industry  for  its  kind.  Every  year  tons  of electronic  items  are shipped  over  oceans, however, after  their  usage  time they  are  become a  complex waste  matter  which  consists  of  many  hazardous heavy  metals,  acids,  toxic  chemicals  and  non-degradable  plastics.  Many  are  dumped,  burnt  or exported  to  recyclers.  However,  about  75%  of  e-wastes are uncertain for their use or finding ways to use  them  which  includes  refurbishment,  re-manufacture  and  reuse  their  parts  for  repair  etc.

Most  e-waste consist of  toxic  materials such as leaded  glass,  circuit  boards,  and  mercury  lamps. Dismantling process takes  much labor, it is  not  only  involve  in  unscrewing  but also shredding, tearing  and  burning. The smoke and dust  particle  consists  of  carcinogens  and  other hazardous  chemicals  which  causes  severe inflammations  and  lesions  including  many respiratory  and  skin  diseases.  Circuits  are  burnt  to hunt  the  valuable  metals  such  as  gold,  platinum, cadmium but the wire  coat  of  those consists of PVC and  PCB  which  may  produce  erotic  smoke,  and carbon  particles  from  the  toners  are  carcinogens, they may  lead to  lung  and  skin  cancer (Kevin et  al., 2008).

Sources of e-waste

Almost  every  used  electronic  items  are  considered as  e-waste  such  as  discarded  cellphones,  cameras, CD  players,  TVs,  radios,  drillers,  fax  machines, photocopiers,  printers,  toners,  ink  cartridges, batteries,  re-chargeable batteries,  digital  calculators and clocks, CRT monitors, electric solders, computer mother boards, key board, industrial and house hold electronic  machinery such  as oven,  fridge,  sewing & washing machines, fan, air-conditioner, grinder, iron, heater,  military  and  laboratory  electronic equipment’s, etc.

Impact of products from  e-waste  in human health

There  are chances  of  accidents  like cuts  and  burns during  the  dismantling,  shredding,  acid  baths  and incineration  process,  in  addition,  exposure  to chemicals  have  many  long-term  effects.

The following are some of health hazard that resulted from improper waste  treatment such as burning.

  • Chlorobenzene  causes  acute  and chronic  effects  in mammals, effects CNS (central nervous system), liver and  thyroid.  Increasing  degree  of  chlorination  such as  tetrachlorobenzenes  also  affects  kidneys.
  • Hexachlorobenzene(HCB)  are  group  2B  carcinogens it  damages  immune  system,  liver,  thyroid,  CNS, kidney  and  nervoussystem (van  Birgelen 1998).  It  is also reported the bioaccumulation of HCB.
  • Polybrominated  diphenyl  ethers  (PBDEs)  is  an environmentally  persistent  compound, which  is also reported  in  bioaccumulation,  it  causes  abnormal brain development during the initial development of a fetus,  it also  associated  with impacts on learning, memory,  behavior and  thyroid,  oestrogen hormone systems and  effecting  the immune system  (Legler  & Brouwer 2003).
  • When PBDEs are burnt they produce brominated  dioxins/furans  which  are  similarly hazardous.  Triphenyl  phosphates  (TPP)  are  a contaminant  in human  blood (Jonsson  et  al.  2001)

Disposal  methods  of  e- waste and their effect to environment 

Currently following methods are used to get rid of e-wastes they are Incineration, Acid baths, Landfills and their effect to the environment.

  • Incineration

    Incineration  also  includes  pyrolysis;  substances generated  during incineration  are  likely to  be  more toxic  than  its  ordinary  form,  pyrolysis  heating  the substance  in  the  absence  of  oxygen,  here  the burning  does  not  occur  but  the  substances  are converted  to fumes,  oils and  charcoal.

  • Acid baths

    Acid bath method is used to extract Copper, here the circuit  board  is  submerged  in  to  Sulfuric  acid  for about  12 hours  to dissolve  Copper  then  solution  is boiled,  precipitated  Copper  Sulfate  is  taken  and remaining  solution  is  added  with scraped  particles, subsequently  Copper  smudges  are  removed.  Acid baths  also  used  to  dissolve  the  lead  and  in  the extraction  of  Gold  and Silver.

  • Landfills

    E-wastes ending up as landfills may  release  to  the  environment after several  years by natural  means, and  there  is a possibility  of  leaching  of  wastes  such  as  batteries releases acids and heavy metals mercury, nickel and cadmium,  electronic circuits  have  lead,  zinc,  Nickel, Copper, Mercury and cadmium. These may reach the land  water  and  reaches  animals  and  humans,  and mixes  with  other fresh  water sources  such  as rivers and  streams

E-Waste identification and treatment proposal with Artificial Intelligence 
 
Preservation of our mother earth start from how we should control our waste generated and disposal. Focusing on E-waste management, the impact to the environment  can be limited starting from how E-Waste is general.
 
Knowledge of E-Waste disposal management is complex, it’s not easy to understand and do. A preventive method should be applied before the E-Waste end up in landfill, or treated improperly. 
 
Wegaia is a complete E-Waste management solution that integrate Artificial Intelligence within its mobile application and web interface. Wegaia enables its user to identify the E-Waste with intelligent image recognition, and identify the type of E-Waste. It provides complex information on how to properly dispose or treat the E-Waste that may otherwise the information is not easily found.
 
Wegaia raises awareness on how to handle E-Waste correctly. The purpose is to align from the beginning, which start from where the E-Waste is generated, and providing information on how to treat or dispose it. Therefore, preventing unnecessary dumping, acid bath, or incineration method.
 
Providing the correct information to public on the danger of improper E-Waste management, helping to identify the E-Waste, and providing the correct information of E-Waste disposal method can cut the danger of E-Waste disposal significantly. Therefore, lets keep our mother earth clean and be sustainable.    
 

 

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