I watched 60 minutes in horror this evening as they exposed a major dirty little secret of our electronic age! Recyling, something we all think is good, but I guess when it comes to electronics it’s not as good as we might think. The group that is working on exposing this nasty business of computer recyling is called the Basel Action Network, I believe it is www.ban.org, also Greenpeace has done some public exposure pieces as well.
I was horrified to find out that the recyling computer waste also know as E-waste is being shipped to south China, Guiyu is one of the places, but I’m sure there are more. The children in this city are suffering from serious lead exposure , and 7 out of 10 children there have extremely high lead levels. The workers make $8.00 a day to work at disposing these computer parts, and are being exposed to some of the worst dioxins in the world! It’s horrible. This waste being shipped to developing nations, has many laborers, working under unsafe, and unregulated conditions.
E-waste or electronic trash, according to the Environmental Protection Agency is growing fast. In the US alone we discarded 47 million computers in 2005. I couldn’t find current figures, but when you factor in other forms of electronics, we now dump between 300 million and 400 million electronic items per year, according to estimates from the EPA .
It was disturbing to realize that even though it is not legal, companies are disposing of cathode ray tubes (CRT’s) from monitors, and other electronic waste, while acquiring them under the false pretense of recyling, and shipping them to Hong Kong & China, where they are destroying the lives of children and workers because the government doesn’t care, and the people are forced to choose between poverty or poison. The worst part to me was that we are paying $10.00 to recycle this waste and we think we are doing a good thing. Yet, this is how they are being disposed of? Goodness, there must be a better way.