|The Impacts of Global Production to Developing Countries|
|Written by Martha Rita|
|Monday, 25 February 2013 00:00|
The current global production has skyrocketed with most E-waste being produced in Europe, the United States and Australia. China, Eastern Europe and Latin America are expected to become major E-waste producers in the next ten years. Rapid technological change has seen the mass production of digital electronics each with a launched newer version to replace an outdated one.
With this production comes increased safety rules, proper expensive recycling ways that are labour intensive and strict environmental laws that require e-recyclers to use environmentally friendly processes. This has forced numerous companies producing e-wastes in the western countries to claim to be safely recycling their electric and electronic products while in fact they export their wastes to other countries. Shipment is done to developing countries with cheap labour and weak or non-existent environmental laws. The companies end up maximizing their profits and adapting to the economic efficient waste disposal techniques that suits their goals.
Some e-wastes such as TVs, cell phones and computers when shipped legally and in good condition can be reused. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Most of the shipment contains broken electronics that cannot be put into any use and end up as heaps of junk in the yards, homes, rivers and parks of developing countries which are least equipped to deal with them.
Common e-waste destinations include China, India, and Pakistan, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ghana and Brazil, just to mention but a few.
The results of e-waste dumping into these countries are human health, economic and environmental issues which are usually correlated. Environmental contamination is a result of improper disposal, which eventually leads to polluted groundwater, unsafe levels of lead and mercury leakage into nearby water channels and soil and toxic emissions that contribute to global warming. Health concerns arise from people handling these wastes without protective gadgets and clothes. This exposes them to skin rashes, cancer, weakened immune systems, respiratory, brain and kidney damages. Economic issues come about with the high cost of treatment required for people contaminated by these toxic wastes and the clean-up mechanisms to be undertaken to dispose off the wastes in the end.
Photo courtesy of Scorpions and centaurs on flickr.
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