china's electronic waste village

i was pretty shocked that i hadn't heard of this (maybe that just means i should pay more attention). guiyu, china is responsible for breaking down much of the world's electronic waste or "e-waste," 80% of which comes from places other than china, including the united states.

there are 5,500 different businesses in guiyu alone whose primary purpose is to break down waste electronics. most of these are small and family-run. the industry provides not only jobs but also metals like gold and silver that are extracted from the various items. in guiyu, this industry generates of $75 million a year.

in relation to sustainability, this industry is undoubtedly poisoning the environment through different sources such as ash from the burning of coal. places like these (that can also be found in india and africa) are more common in underdeveloped countries as it is cheaper to break down e-waste there.

there are high rates of lead poisoning among guiyu's children, an elevated rate of miscarriages, and the highest level of dioxins in the world (which are cancer-causing).

in spite of all these phsyical and ecological threats, the e-waste industry continues on in different parts of the world. it is practices like these that need to be stopped for so many reasons, but are prevented by indifference and economic gain.

1 comment:

  1. One of the hidden costs of our culture's obsession with the newest of everything... :-(