Friday, September 23, 2011

Digital Wasteland

What happens to all the digital waste we accumulate ? Digital waste as in broken PCs/laptops, unwanted cameras, mouse, keyboard etc ?

Agbogbloshie, part of Ghana is where all our digital waste goes. Most of these are "donations" or "charity" by countries like U.S and so on, which have found an easy way to dump their wastes in the name of charity. And Ghana, which once welcomed the charity is now staggering under the waste.

The toxic wastes harm the inhabitants. Kids try to make a living selling the wastes, in the process exposing themselves to the fumes. The government has now no idea how to tackle this problem.

In India, we repair our laptops/PCs ... so why not the developed countries ? Most of us who have NRI relatives have seen how the relatives used to bring and gift "slightly" damaged laptops or mobiles to their relatives. Why don't they have people who can repair electronics in the developed countries ? This might help reduce the digital wastes being dumped to countries like Ghana.

Ghana is now apparently turning to India for help in tackling this waste :

I'll let the images and a link speak for themselves.


urban butterfly said...

this is terrible, but not at all surprising to me. nothing shocks me when it comes to the things that the US is capable of. Nothing...

Bikramjit said...

well if its any good , I got my IT waste up in the loft of the house .. not given to charity or any relative .. now that make me sound very miser and stingy :)


~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

UB :
It's scary what the developed countries can do or stoop to. Development should never override humanity, right ?
I was not sure if this post would insult US citizens, but am glad you weren't insulted.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Bikram :
Not at all ... you can always get it repaired and use it, no ?

ashok said...

disgusting to see this...

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Very frightening images. Ghana shouldn't accept these gifts from US and US should find ways to destroy and recycle this digital waste.Actually US was doing this sometimes back to India also but some how Govt. of India came to know about this and put a stop to this practice.

Best wishes,

urban butterfly said...

not at all! I'm not insulted. I live in the US and I was born here, but I do not agree with-- nor do I defend everything that this country does. There are many problems with the US, and I'm not afraid to say that, because it is the truth.

P. Venugopal said...

Awesome. Your presentation is powerful in its impact.

Sorcerer said...

Thats how the world revolves .As long as the policies of a Govt is not clear about what it wants in its land. and the import policies there will always be people/Corporate/Govts who try to manipulate through broken policies.

There is this UN initiative under United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)[Atlest they have the facts right on e-waste], which is having projects to tackle the e-waste.

I think UN should pressurize the GOVTS,with strict norms (which many wouldnt follow unless equipped with a String attached to Bank drafts with IMF/ADB) to put the manufacturers of electronic goods in their country to take back their products for recycling.

Impose heavy sanctions/Taxations on them if their branded E-Waste pollutes the atmosphere..


up↑take said...

Used batteries, spent engine oil... these are recycled in the west whereas no such thing exists in India.

Diesel car sales have seen a spurt due to the mindless subsidy on Diesel in India, on an average emit seven times more particulates and three to five times more nitrogen oxides than petrol cars.

Banned in 52 countries, asbestos thrives in India

RD said...

Cruelty is a part of nature, at least of human nature, but it is the one thing that seems unnatural to us....


Hari Nandakumar

Thommy said...

An eye-opener....
Why should they pay the price...?

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Ashok :
Yes indeed

Joseph :
hey !
yes .. had heard reports that this was happening in India too ... but anyway ...

UB :

Venu Maashe :
thank you !

Sorc :
Yo !
But if the Govts are tempted by the foreign Govts, even UN norms dont help right ...blind greed and the works.
Gosh ! What am i saying right now ?

Uptake :
See .. it is not abt the recycling alone .. its abt the attitude of a country. Have you seen India offload its waste on other countries ? When a certain type of waste goes beyond waste, countries like India come up with means to recycle or get rid of it without taking making another country play the scrape goat ...

RD :
Wha-a-aaa-t ?

Thommy :
Hey !
exactly !

Anonymous said...

However, India's production of e-waste is up 8x in the last 7 years, India is IMPORTING more and more e-waste, and it is widely known that massive amounts of e-waste are incinerated illegally in India.

So no, India doesn't necessarily offload tons of electronics waste to places like Ghana, but is also clearly not a leader in responsible disposal of such waste.

What's better: contaminating another country with your waste, or contaminating your own country with your waste (and the world's waste)?

India is not innocent here.