Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More e-waste; this time, it's Africa!

If you recall my previous posts (here and here) on the subject, you know that "recycling" computers by such primitive methods as ripping them apart and prying the precious metals out is extremely hazardous to one's health. And yet, this is the method employed by poor people overseas. The first article I posted specifically talked about China. This new article talks about the same phenomena happening in Africa. It's really a horrible situation.

Nigerian importers are able to make a quick buck because of high local demand for electronic goods—Pentium III computers sell for about $130 and a 27-inch television will set you back around $50. The remainder, equivalent to approximately 100,000 computers per month, ends up in dumps and landfills. That electronic waste (e-waste) is chock-full of pollutants like lead, cadmium and mercury that then seep into the ground and water supply. When the mounds of waste get too high, they are burned, releasing toxins from the plastic casings into the air. (For more about how we're destroying Africa with waste, check out Travis's post, The Global Village's Septic Tank.)

Not only should African countries not allow this to happen, we shouldn't either. US manufacturers certainly have the resources to handle recycling domestically, where it would be much safer and healthier (provided they're not using prisoners!).


Anonymous said...

The irony? We are burying ourselves before we're dead. Irony? Maybe not, but the word iron is inside it so it was convenient! :>)

I make light of a very grave, no pun intended, situation. Thank you for highlighting it.


Nat-Wu said...

Thanks for reading and commenting. Stupid puns are fine; stupid people are what annoys me. Like people who think that Africa should be Africa's problem. I admit that not all the problems of the world are equally pressing, but I firmly believe that all the problems of the world are the world's problems; they don't belong only to those afflicted by them.

Dems, step up!