“control” by sacrifice_87, (flickr) under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs Generic Licence
In recent years, we have all come to hear the stories of e-waste being dumped in third world neighborhoods for dismantling. This is highlighted in a January 2008 National Geographic article called High Tech Trash. As mentioned in the article, countries like China are now limiting the amount of e-waste allowed into their country. “It doesn’t help in a global sense for one place like China, or India, to become restrictive,” says David N. Pellow, an ethnic studies professor at the University of California, San Diego, who studies electronic waste from a social justice perspective. “The flow simply shifts as it takes the path of least resistance to the bottom.”
Chris Carrol, author of the article, goes on to say that according to scientific research, e-waste may now be showing up in jewellery from China that is being sold in the United States. “Ultimately, shipping e-waste overseas may be no bargain even for the developed world.”
Carroll quotes chemist Jeffrey Weidenhamer, who says, “The U.S. right now is shipping large quantities of leaded materials to China, and China is the world’s major manufacturing center. It’s not all that surprising things are coming full circle and now we’re getting contaminated products back.”
The e-waste dilemma highlights for me the importance of global citizenship. As global citizens in a global community, e-waste is an issue we in the first world cannot pass off to unsuspecting victims in poor third world countries to forget about. E-waste affects us all. Knowing this, we have to come up with global solutions to a global problem. Will there come a time when we can work together for the good of humankind and the planet? I am hopeful that with technological connections we will.
Carroll, C., & Essik, P. (2008). High-tech trash. National Geographic, 213, 64-81.