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Old Electric Appliances Threaten Environment

Householders are being encouraged to dispose of their old electric appliances properly to avoid causing pollution.

An article in the Economic Daily newspaper said the treatment of disused household electrical appliances will be a big problem around 2003, when people with higher incomes and better living conditions are expected to start renewing refrigerators, washing machines and televisions bought in the 1990s or even earlier.

The report claims that 4 million refrigerators, 5 million washing machines and 5 million televisions will be replaced within the next two or three years.

If obsolete appliances cannot be properly handled or are treated as ordinary rubbish and are burnt or buried, they will seriously pollute the air, soil and water, the paper said.

CFCs in refrigerators are believed to cause damage to the ozone layer and television tubes contain the poisonous liquid metal, mercury, which could leak into the ground.

Instead, metals and glass in such appliances can be recycled and recovering the products would help to protect the environment and reduce the costs of resources and energy.

In developed countries, such as the United States, Japan, Germany and France, the recovery industry of disused household electrical appliances has witnessed a rapid development in recent years.

Such countries have regulations which stipulate that both producers and consumers of the products are taking responsibility for treating waste resulting from the appliances.

Updating the recovery industry has become an important task for the Chinese Government. Scientific research into the technology to turn waste into useful resources should be stepped up, the Economic Daily said.

A system to treat old appliances is expected to be set up before 2003, the newspaper said.

(China Daily 05/08/2001 )

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