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“From E-Waste to Medals”

BY:SanjenbamJueshwor Singh

Inevery four years, the host Country of the Olympic Games revels in the Global spotlight for sixteen days. While few Countries are able to create a lasting imprint once the games are over. Japan has a unique plan to change this: at the 2020 summer Olympic in Tokyo; winning medalist will quite literally own a piece of Japanese trash. During 2020 TokyoOlympic, medals to the best Athletes of the World will be conferred with the medals made from E-Waste at the victory podium.Japan has pledged to recover upto eight(08) tons of metals from obsolete smartphones and other electronic gadgets ,which will be converted into five thousands(5000) Gold, Silver and Bronze medals ahead of the games according to a press release on the Olympic websites.
The initiatives, known as the “Tokyo Medal Project “is in a part of response to global”E-Waste” crisis. This project falls directly in the line with the Tokyo-2020 slogan” Be better, together-for the Planet and the People “This is not the first time, electronic waste has been used to create the Olympic medals but it is the first time citizens got a chance to be directly involved. Although only a tenth of the population, Japan is second to China when it comes to generating E-Waste, according to UN University’s Regional E-Waste monitor. In 2011 alone 36.39 million mobile phones were made in Japan and only 7.62 million units or 20.9% were collected under mobile recycling networks, a network of 9000 retails outlets that collect mobile parts. It is a problem across Asia, with the volume of E-Waste increasing by 63% in the five years ending in 2015. Asia is also the largest manufacturer and the market of EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment), not intended for reused. This amount to 12.3 million tons in 2015, a weight akin to 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Globally, the unit of E-Waste was   projected to grow 49.8 million tons by the end of 2018 with annual growth rate of 4 to 5%. China alone increased its waste to 6.7 milliontons upto 10% from 2010 to 2015. Meanwhile Hong Kong (21.7 kg) and Singapore (19.95 kg), had the highest average E-waste generation per capita in the region in 2015.
Tokyo 2020 Medal Project is attempting to salvage metals from E-Waste devices. TheOrganizingCommittee, in an attempt to obtain required quantity tried at its wits end effort to make all the medals for Olympic and Paralympic by the materials collected from old smartphones, Laptops and other obsolete electronic gadgets. This initiative was taken up for the first time in 2017 with public, business as well as Industries. It is effort a step ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic; to make 30% of Silver and Bronze medals from recycled materials. Upto the end of 2018, Organizer had collected 47,488 tons of E-Waste devices. Out of this 8 tons, it has pledged to recycle  and aims to collect 40 kg of Gold,4,920Kgs of Silver and 2,944kgs of Bronze from which they will make Gold, Silver and Bronze medals of the games. The target of making bronze medals was achieved in June 2018.At the same time; they set the target to achieve for the Gold and Silver by March this year. A press release of the organizing committee, by October 2018, 28.4 kg of gold (93.7% of the targeted quantity) and 3,500kg of Silver (85.4% of targeted quantity) had been sourced from the donated devices. In Japan ,1600 Municipal authorities involved tocollect 90% of the E-Waste upto the end of November 2018.After collecting the sufficient quantity of E-Waste, prior to make medals and refining, they will dismantled and classify different types. At the end of August 2018, the telecom giant NTTDOCOMO, a partner in the project collected approximately 1,300,000 used mobile phones. Consumers are also increasingly choosing to turn in their old phones to participate in manufacturer’s buyback or trade-in-program,arguably one of the most sustainable options.
This venture of Japan is an eye-opening to all the countries where the miseries of e-waste exist and can follow the foot print of Japan to convert e-waste to wealth. At the same time this activity will remove the burden of e-waste problem in our environment. Government of Manipur may also eye this venture for a clean & healthy environment for a prosperous state.
Writer can be reached to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Or WhatsApp No:9612891339

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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