The Global Fool

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Electronic Waste: A Global, Interactive Map
Dec17

Electronic Waste: A Global, Interactive Map

By The Editors In one of our previous posts (Electronic Waste and the Global Toxic Trade) we said “As technology changes come by very rapidly in great acceleration-style, the amount of obsolete and discarded high tech material also grows, great acceleration-style, around the world.” Now, data compiled by “Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative“, a partnership of UN organizations, industry, governments, non-government and science organizations, provide a staggering forecast of how rapidly electronic waste is accumulating globally – by 2017, we can expect an increase of 33%, up to one-third to 65.4 million tons. The escalating e-waste problem is graphically shown in a first-of-its-kind StEP E-Waste World Map, available online at http://www.step-initiative.org/index.php/WorldMap.html. This unique interactive map presents annual data from 184 countries, showing the estimated amount of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market and the resulting generation of e-waste. If you click on a continent and a country, you can see an overview of the country’s e-waste statistics, as well as any rules that country has to regulate the disposal of e-waste. The map shows that almost 48.9 million metric tons of used electrical and electronic products was produced last year — an average of 7 kg for each of the world’s 7 billion people. “Although there is ample information about the negative environmental and health impacts of primitive e-waste recycling methods, the lack of comprehensive data has made it hard to grasp the full magnitude of the problem,” says Ruediger Kuehr of United Nations University and Executive Secretary of the StEP Initiative, “We believe that this constantly updated, map-linked database showing e-waste volume by country together with legal texts will help lead to better awareness and policy making at the public and private...

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Electronic Waste and the Global Toxic Trade
May23

Electronic Waste and the Global Toxic Trade

By The Editors Here we go with another major source of pollution and serious negative health effects: e-waste, which-stands for electronic waste – also called e-scrap.  Electronic waste may be defined as discarded computers (desktop, laptop, computer monitors, etc.), office electronic equipment (printers, scanners, fax machines, etc.), entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, television sets, refrigerators, and more. To make things easier and avoid long lists, we can safely say that e-waste is about anything that works with a cord or a battery — or it’s connected to something with a cord or battery (think for example computer mice, or keyboards). As technology changes come by very rapidly in great acceleration-style, the amount of obsolete and discarded high tech material also grows, great acceleration-style, around the world.  Most of it ends up in landfills or inciniretors along with all the very toxic stuff it contains: lead, cadmium, beriyllium, or brominated flame retardanta.  It would be nice to think “recycle”.  However, dropping off e-waste for recycling does not guarantee safe disposal.  It may likely end up in China. India or parts of Africa, where it is used to extract the metals contained in it under extremely hazardous conditions, thus becoming a major source of environmental contamination and a serious threat to human health.  Below you can see the global e-waste trail clearly summarized by Greenpeace International.                         Leyla Acaroglu, a sustainability strategist based in Melbourne, Australia, wrote at the beginning of this month in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times Sunday Review that in Ghana, India and China “Children pile e-waste into giant mountains and burn it so they can extract the metals — copper wires, gold and silver threads — inside, which they sell to recycling merchants for only a few dollars.” And “In India, young boys smash computer batteries with mallets to recover cadmium, toxic flecks of which cover their hands and feet as they work. Women spend their days bent over baths of hot lead, “cooking” circuit boards so they can remove slivers of gold inside.” Below is one of the “must-see” videos. – this is about Ghana, defined as an electronic wasteland. It might take eons of time to sort these problems out, but in the mean time make sure to recycle your e-waste, and recycle all of it through an e-Stewards® Recycler. As stated in the e-Stewards Initiative website “Without appropriate national and international legislation or enforcement in place in many regions, it is unfortunately left up to individual citizens, corporations, universities, cities – all of us – to figure out how to prevent the toxic materials in electronics from continuing to cause long term harm...

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