Case Studies

     According to the research, in the United States, 80 present of computer waste collected for recycling and exported to Asia, and dumped.  This situation is called “toxic colonization”, and it becomes “environmental injustice.”  Jim Puckett directs the Seattle-based Basel Action Network and insists that the global trade in E-waste “leaves the poorer peoples of the world with an untenable choice between poverty and poison.”

 

 China

     While workers reap $1 to $3 a day and an early death, the "recycling" industry -- in both the United States and China -- harvests substantial profits. U.S. exporters not only avoid the cost of environmentally sound disposal at home, but they also turn a buck from selling the waste abroad. After disassembly, one ton of computer scrap yields more gold than 17 tons of gold ore, and circuit boards can be 40 times richer in copper than copper ore. In Guiyu alone, workers extract 5 tons of gold, 1 ton of silver and an estimated $150 million a year.

 

 

     Since the 1980s, cities like Guiyu, China, have been taking in electronic waste from other countries for dismantlement and processing. It's great for other countries, but takes a huge toll on the people managing the effort because of the "metal extraction of circuit boards" and "open dumping of waste and ash residue into open water".

   

  It's made the well water and ground water of Guiyu undrinkable, and has to be trucked in from other villages. The lead poisoning level in children is 69%.

The air smells acrid from the squat gas burners that sit outside homes, melting wires to recover copper and cooking computer motherboards to release gold. Migrant workers in filthy clothes smash picture tubes by hand to recover glass and electronic parts, releasing as much as 6.5 pounds of lead dust.

         

   For five years, environmentalists and the media have highlighted the danger to Chinese workers who dismantle much of the world's junked electronics. Yet a visit to this southeastern Chinese town regarded as the heartland of “e-waste” disposal shows little has improved. In fact, the problem is growing worse because of China's own contribution.America ships China up to 80 percent of U.S. electronic waste -- discarded computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. Last year alone, the United States exported enough e-waste to cover a football field and rise a mile into the sky.

          

  Most of the junk ends up in the small port city of Guiyu, a one-industry town four hours from Hong Kong that reeks of acid fumes and burning plastic. Its narrow streets are lined with 5,500 small-scale scavenger enterprises euphemistically called "recyclers." They employ 80 percent of the town's families -- more than 30,000 people -- who recover copper, gold and other valuable materials from 15 million tons of e-waste.

          

  Unmasked and ungloved, Guiyu's workers dip motherboards into acid baths, shred and grind plastic casings from monitors, and grill components over open coal fires. They expose themselves to brain-damaging, lung-burning, carcinogenic, birth-defect- inducing toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium and bromated flame retardants (the subject of last month's column), as well as to dioxin at levels up to 56 times World Health Organization standards. Some 82 percent of children under 6 around Guiyu have lead poisoning.

         

   While workers reap $1 to $3 a day and an early death, the "recycling" industry -- in both the United States and China -- harvests substantial profits. U.S. exporters not only avoid the cost of environmentally sound disposal at home, but they also turn a buck from selling the waste abroad. After disassembly, one ton of computer scrap yields more gold than 17 tons of gold ore, and circuit boards can be 40 times richer in copper than copper ore. In Guiyu alone, workers extract 5 tons of gold, 1 ton of silver and an estimated $150 million a year[2].

 

 

India    

     Like China, India is now confronted with the huge problem of e-waste - both locally generated and internationally imported - and also both a lucrative industry and yet also a serious threat to human health and the environment. While there have been some initiatives to set regulations for e-waste management, overall, these hazardous wastes are still typically dismantled and recycled by hand in India in unorganized scrap yard settings that lack safeguards and government guidelines.

 

      Large e-waste centres exist in Delhi, Meerut, Ferozabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai, with 25,000 recyclers working in Delhi alone. Workers are poorly-protected in an environment where e-waste from PC monitors, PCBs, CDs, motherboards, cables, toner cartridges, light bulbs and tube-lights are burned in the open, releasing lead, mercury toxins into the air. Metals and non-degradable materials such as gold and platinum, aluminum, cadmium, mercury, lead and brominates flame-retardants are retrieved.

 

      Though the Indian Supreme Court banned the import of hazardous waste in 1997, 600 tons of e-waste still entered the country in the last six months under the guise of charitable or re-usable materials, all duty-free. Funnily enough, India’s regulatory body, the Central Pollution Control Board, continues to deny that e-waste is coming into India. But regardless, it is certain that legal loopholes are being exploited by importers, traders and recyclers alike to take advantage of a profitable business with a high human and environmenta impact.[12][14]

 Aflica

    Every month, hundreds of tons of obsolete computers, televisions and other household consumer electronics are arriving at ports in Ghana and Nigeria. From here, the second-hand electronics are distributed via local networks of dealers throughout the country.

"Ghana is increasingly becoming a dumping ground for waste from Europe and the US. We are talking about several tons of obsolete discarded computers, monitors etc. We don't have the mechanism or the system in place in this country to recycle these wastes. Some of these items come in under the guise of donations, but when you examine the items they don't work," said Mike Anane, Director of the League of Environmental Journalists in Ghana.

 

     The accumulation of mountains of electronic waste in Nigeria - increasingly the world's PC dumping ground - has so alarmed the country's government that there is now a national committee to deal with the problem. Up to 50 million tones of old PCs are thrown away each year on waste dumps where they pose a pollution threat to the environment and to people. Legislation exists that should prohibit the simple sending of old PCs to be dumped - but the problem is that Nigeria's booming second-hand computer industry gives ample scope for computer waste to be brought in.

 

 

     Most used machines are not tested for functionality before they are exported to Nigeria, and according to John Oboro, assistant general secretary of the dealers' association Capdan, there are far more bad computers coming in than good.

 

     Local experts, politicians and campaigners fear the enormous influx of obsolete electronics is posing a serious long term threat to the environment and to human health.

In West Africa, refuse is often disposed of in fires. It is not unusual that waste collectors will destroy the cathode ray tubes, and burn the wires and circuit boards inside, to get to the copper wires and other metals, which can be resold.[5][13]

 

 

Professor Oladele Osibanjo, Director at the Basel Convention Regional coordinating Centre for Africa said,

"We have about half a million computers, used computers,

coming into the Lagos port every month, and only 25 per cent of

these are working. 75 per cent is junk.

The volumeis so large, that the people who trade it,

 just burn it like ordinary refuse.

Our studies have shown that

the levels of metals in this waste are far beyond

 the threshold limits set by Europe."

 

 

 

 

The 3 main reasons of growing e-waste in southern nations:

 

  •  Workers are working with very low wage.(>$5)
  • Lacking of envitonmentaland occupational regulations.
  •  

     Electronic waste

    There is no prohibition to export e-waste in the United States.

 

 

 
Make a Free Website with Yola.