Dumping e-Waste into Africa Now an International Concern
November 30, 2006 10:35 AM
comment(s) - last by
Obsolete and non-functioning consumer waste finds its way to third world countries
The United Nations held a conference this week called the 8th Conference of the Parties where UN members discussed primarily issues affecting the environment. The main topic was what they called "e-waste."
A byproduct of technology that was once cutting edge, e-waste is basically old technology that has become obsolete and consumers no longer want them.
Old televisions, computers, phones and other electronics are getting moved overseas
, to third world countries and being "dumped" there for people to use. While the concept of recycling is definitely the idea, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, expressed a high degree of concern over e-waste.
During his speech to UN members, Steiner noted "If these were good quality, second hand, pieces of equipment this would perhaps be a positive trade of importance for development." Most people would consider this a fairly positive bit up to this point. Steiner then expressed concerns that most products being shipped over either have malfunctions or are completely non-functioning. "But local experts estimate that between a quarter to 75 per cent of these items including old TVs, CPUs and phones are defunct—in other words E-waste, in other words long distance dumping from developed country consumers and companies to an African rubbish tip or landfill," continued Steiner.
The UN meeting suggests that manufacturers begin looking at ways to truly recycle used and non-functional electronic equipment. Nokia for example,
announced recyclable phones earlier this year
. The phones would be taken back to a break-down facility where a specific degree of heat would cause the phone to instantly break apart into individual components. Product designs like this easily help manufacturers salvage old products and refurbish them for uses elsewhere. Developing countries where technology is slow moving can benefit from recycling schemes such as Nokia's.
Near the end of his speech, Steiner pointed out that China was a country leading the world in terms of a "circular economy," where nothing was wasted. A circular economy is a concept where one product is a raw material for another product. And a product could be anything from a hand-held instrument to heat for warming homes.
According to UNEP study, "Some progress in the areas of electronics is being made and I congratulate the Basel Secretariat and responsible members of industry for the Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative. There is a lot that can be done like take back schemes, recycling projects and certification of exports showing them as functioning equipment."
Whatever the case may be, e-waste has definitely grown to international proportions and the concern is very real. It's a reality that landfills are piling up with waste and more electronic consumer products are being manufactured in mass quantities daily. At the same time, massive amount of products are being thrown away by consumer -- most of which are still usable.
It appears as though the world has come along way since the introduction of the "three R's" concept.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: whats up with the USA
11/30/2006 7:42:48 PM
Oh PS its any "western" countries problem, not just USA.
"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot
Nokia Self Destruct Phone
July 29, 2006, 3:41 PM
WebOS Class Action Settlement Costs HP $57 Million
April 1, 2014, 10:22 AM
IBM Workers Strike Over Terms of Deal That Will Have Them Working for Lenovo
March 6, 2014, 9:29 AM
Google Picking Up Artificial Intelligence Company "DeepMind" for $400 Million
January 27, 2014, 9:25 AM
Quick Note: Qualcomm Grabs up Palm, IPAQ, and Bitfone Patent Portfolio from HP
January 24, 2014, 9:18 AM
Verizon Buys Intel Media OnCue Cloud TV assets
January 21, 2014, 10:26 AM
Google's First Asian Data Centers Now Operational
December 11, 2013, 8:50 AM
Most Popular Articles
Cities to Carpoolers: Sharing Your Car is Illegal, We Will Seize Your Cars
April 4, 2014, 9:17 PM
Taiwan's AOU Claims to Have World's Highest-Res. OLED Smartphone Display
April 11, 2014, 1:44 PM
iPad Exploiter is Freed by Federal Appeals Court
April 11, 2014, 7:40 PM
It's Very Likely Neanderthals and Humans Had Sex, Produced Offspring
April 10, 2014, 8:40 PM
Cops at Historically Troubled LAPD are Sabotaging Digital Recording Devices
April 9, 2014, 11:10 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information