Electronics are a big part of our everyday lives. Anytime of the day, we are checking our emails
or texts, wondering if there’s anything new. So it’s no surprise that so much of our electronics end up in
the trash, in between the use of them and the new versions coming out. But what happens to them
once they leave our sight?
Instead of trashing old electronics, some people choose to recycle them. This is e-waste and you
would think that since your recycling, you would be helping the environment. You would be wrong.
Recycling would keep the electronics out of the dump, but then they are sent to other countries under
the cover that they are e-waste plants. Safe to use right? Wrong. These sites have workers that smash
computers into the ground and then pick out the valuables before trashing or burning the rest of it. Not
only does burning the electronics release harmful chemicals into the air that are toxic to breathe in, the
workers don’t even have any protective gear. So instead of slowly releasing their toxins into the ground
or atmosphere, they are quickly poisoning the workers. Neither of this seems right.
Look at this. “Recycle cell phones and collect the gold. Germany has discovered that melting
down old cell phones and extracting the gold from the chips and other components is a lucrative multimillion dollar business.”(Found here). I found that quote on a site that was promoting e-waste. What are
people thinking? What happens to all the chemicals released while they melt the phones down? Making
them harms the workers so how would it affect the people destroying them? E-waste is a good idea. Yes
find new ways to get rid of our old electronics, but don’t do it by harming others.
Guiyu, China
Over 50% of our e-waste is shipped overseas. Guiyu is the center of this. Piles of obsolete
technology are strewn across the town. Workers who are charged with ‘recycling’ it die in approximately
a month. This is because they dip each component into vats of sodium chloride. These vats are often just
poured into the ground to be disposed of. The toxins then leach into the nearby river, severely poisoning
it. Open burning is another technique, where they burn the electronics and then retrieve the metals
from the ashes. This really impacts the air.
Pictures Here
E-waste could become a good way to recycle our electronics, but at the moment it is dangerous and kills
many people. (For more information, watch this video)