Monday, July 19, 2010

Old Computers are Poisoning Asia

Uh oh. Why are old computers poisoning Asia? Economic reasons. They're taking apart old, unwanted computers for their valuable minerals, which they sell.
Discovery news is reporting on the dismantling in India, and Worldwatch reports on the Chinese Conditions. They're both frantically unsoldering components as fast as they can, as the components contain valuable copper, gold, and aluminum. Worthless components, like silicon and lead, are discarded. Some of it vaporizes, and the local air is contaminated with smoke. People in the area have traces of many metals in their blood, some of which are poisonous.
As much as this leads to suffering, the local people are encouraging it, as it's paying them more than traditional area jobs, and this allows them to send their children to school, so that they earn far more money. In a little bit of time, India and China will be so rich as to not bother with this, and will likely send on their e-waste to poorer countries like Cambodia, or Somolia. (Both China and India have massive electronics industries, and an increasing demand for electronics as they industrialize.)

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