Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Outsourcing E-Waste

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).


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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"