ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Electronic Waste Mountains

Updated on December 30, 2011
WHITE MOBILE PHONE IN A DRY RIVER BED by Startoucher White mobile cell phone in a dry, cracked river bed
WHITE MOBILE PHONE IN A DRY RIVER BED by Startoucher White mobile cell phone in a dry, cracked river bed | Source

Electronic waste is a growing problem. Technology is advancing at a fast pace but sometimes it is mere fashion that makes many people replace electronic equipment such as computers, mobile telephones, games consoles and other playthings. The discarded electronic items are usually in perfect working order. Sad, discarded, electronic articles are filling landfill sites in their countries of origin and in some surprising places across the world. Electronic waste is toxic and does not biodegrade.

In the United States, e waste is a huge problem. According to the Electronics Take Back Coalition, Americans replace over 400 million electrical gadgets every year. In theUnited Kingdom, the 60 million population discards over a million tonnes of electronic waste each year. E waste is a constantly mounting problem in all countries.

Despite European Union legislation, a BBC TV Panorama investigation report in May 2011 tracked e waste fromBritaintoGhanaandNigeria. British e waste, exported illegally, is dumped in West African countries, where it is poisoning land and rivers. Children scavenge these dumps, recovering metals from the tons of electrical items to make a bare living risking their health for pennies in doing so.

Legally, broken Electrical items must be responsibly recycled withinUnited Kingdom. Exporting used electronic items for resale is legal, but they must be tested to ensure that they are in working order before they can legally leave the country. Courts can impose a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and two years in prison. No English court has imposed a fine over 12,000 pounds or sent anyone to prison. The UK Environment Agency estimates that one eighth of containers leaving theUnited Kingdom, contain illegal non-working electrical items.

In theUnited States, the problem is even more acute.Americaexports 86% of its e waste mountain to developing countries and recycles only a tiny 14%.America’s e waste goes toChina, Asia,GhanaandNigeria. Planned obsolescence is part of the American Dream and part of industrial design.

TheUKhas a law but does not impose the harshest punishments for breaching that law. An illegal container of broken computers and television sets is worth around 7,000 pounds to those companies, illegally exporting them. How can a 12,000-pound fine and no prison sentence reflect the gravity of the crime or the harm that poisons like lead, cadmium and other poisons do in poor African nations?

The US Environmental Protection Agency advises that people should handle e-waste carefully. However, the American waste industry believes the dangers are over-stated. How can people believe that lead, cadmium, and other toxic substances are not dangerous, but then it might be a very different story if American e waste were poisoning American land and rivers or American children.

You might think that there is little that ordinary people can do to help with this problem, but consumers can do much to help. Recycling electrical goods responsibly is one way to ensure that your old television or computer does not finish its life on a dump in a far away land. Think carefully before you buy your item, whether you really need that new item, perhaps you could upgrade the old one, buying from companies that produce in a better way or take your item back and recycle responsibly within your own country, are all ways that consumers can buy responsibly. Buying items made by companies trying to produce goods in a greener way, encourages those companies to find better ways to make goods. Consumer pressure and knowledge can make a difference.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Mercia Collins profile image
    Author

    Mercia Collins 6 years ago from United Kingdom

    recycling is good but being sure that you take them to a reputable place for recycling. Thank-you for your comment doublereal

  • profile image

    doublereal 6 years ago

    the good point is to recycle them

    http://rapitful.blogspot.com

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)