Creating people's geographies
There is somewhere between 20 and 50 million tons a year of e-waste, mostly from the US and Europe. Much of the detritus of the digital economy ends up in other countries such as China, India and Nigeria, where PCs, printers and phones are dismantled by the poor, often including children, in what is usually a very toxic and unprotected process. Journalist Michael Zhao traveled to Guiyu, China to see the impact of e-waste first-hand.
E-Waste: Dumping on the Poor 电子垃圾污染穷国 (4.35)
The international governance of hazardous waste is shaky: the US is not a signatory to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (1989) and countries like China quietly allow the e-waste dumping to continue for economic reasons.
If you are thinking of buying a new electronic gadget, it may be worth asking what recycling program the companies have in place for safe disposal of often toxic components (some manufacturers such as Dell have such an initiative the last time I enquired, and will pick up your units for disposal).