Elektronikavfall förstör miljön i fattiga länder

Den australienska tekniktidningen Gizmodo har skrivit en lååång artikel om vad som händer med rika länders elektronikavfall. Artikeln är en recension av Elizabeth Grossmans bok High tect Trash. Några utdrag från artikeln:

Now think about the length of time you keep any of your modern electronics before you give them up, either because they’re broken or more likely because they’ve been supplanted by something faster/better. Five years? Two? Look at the iPad as an example. Between the release of the original and the release of the follow-up, complete with its slimmer build, upgraded CPU, superior cameras, and other incremental improvements that Apple maniacs worship, there was just a single year. Apple sold fifteen million original iPads. But now, for many, they’re passé.

An August 2008 Greenpeace report chronicles the process [of irresponsible recycling], and its findings are far from uplifting. In this unregulated and often unmonitored environment where the average annual wage is expressed in the hundreds of dollars, tech products are burned over open flames to separate the plastic from the more valuable metals. Products with little or no value are dumped in nearby pits. Needless to say, the threat of escaping toxins is not a threat at all – it’s a reality. Eighty per cent of the children in Guiyu, China, another region that receives recyclable electronics, are known to have elevated levels of lead in their blood due to the toxins found in these electronics.

Though all of the above paints a murky picture, it also paints a picture of obvious transition. And certainly, there does appear to be enough independent whistleblowers, responsible manufacturers and government intervention to ensure the future is at least better than the past. But right now, there are steps you can take to help.

1. Do not toss any electronic item in the trash.

2. If you’re in the market for a replacement device, first consider the options. Is your current product upgradeable? Do you really need those new features?

3. Buy products that are part of a manufacturer “takeback” program.

4. Sell your old but functioning products on an online classified ad site, or donate them to a responsible local charity or organisation. And don’t forget – you may be eligible for a charitable donation receipt.

5. Patronise manufacturers and retailers that have strong green principles. Check their websites and the links in this article.

6. Try to purchase sustainable/upgradeable devices.

7. Give yourself a cooldown period before jumping on the Next Big Thing. And if the cooldown fails, quietly ponder the gobs of cash you’ve sunk into the “latest and greatest” in the past. And be sad.  

8. If your state doesn’t have an e-waste law, contact your local representative and ask why.

9. Check the e-Stewards site for a roundup of recyclers that meet the vigorous e-Steward requirements.

10. Consult the EPA page for lots of good information on recycling, takeback and donation programs.

Så medan många fokuserar kärnkraftens miljöpåverkan får vi inte heller glömma bort elektronikens. Läs hela artikeln här.

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