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Buying some new technology this Christmas? The downside

"Grim forecast for e-waste, as technology trash will top 65-million tons by 2017"

Link to Independent on Sunday

"... Britain is a major contributor, ranking sixth in the world in terms of the total amount - creating about 1.4 million tons of waste a year. From unwanted flat-screen TVs to mobile phones, from fridges to microwaves, the UK is the worst offender in the EU. And Britain is also among the worst-performing countries regarding the amount of e-waste produced per head of population. Britain ranks 22nd – at 21.8kg a year.

"Although there is ample information about the negative environmental and health impacts of primitive e‑waste recycling methods, the lack of comprehensive data has made it hard to grasp the full magnitude of the problem,” says Ruediger Kuehr, StEP’s executive secretary. Having a more accurate idea of the scale of waste will help “lead to better awareness and policy-making”, he adds.

"But while governments struggle to deal with the problem, the cost of safely disposing of such materials has resulted in large quantities of e‑waste exported to developing countries. There it is often simply dumped or broken down for scrap – often by child workers exposed to dangerous fumes from crude attempts to burn off materials."

Link to web site

The Observer:
" 'This is not a good place to live': inside Ghana's dump for electronic waste"
"'Electric waste comes here from all over the world – but especially from Europe,' says Karim, 29, who, like almost all the scrap dealers at Agbogbloshie, originally comes from northern Ghana, but has been salvaging, buying and selling at the dump for 10 years. 'We get a lot of health problems here, but we manage, because we need the money.'

"Last week, the UN's 'Solving the E-Waste Problem' initiative (Step), which was set up in 2007 to tackle the world's growing crisis of electronic waste, warned that the global volume of such refuse is set to grow by 33% over the next four years.

"Much of it will be dumped in sites such as those in Agbogbloshie, increasing the risk of land contamination with lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants."

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