Friday, November 15, 2013

Where do old phones go to die?

        This article talks about the situation of electronics recycling around the world, the result is: the situation does not look pretty. In many countries, such as Ghana, India, and China, women and children collect electronic waste and burn them so they can extract the metals- copper wires, gold, silver and other materials inside, which they can sell for money. When electronic products are burning or cooking, the waste can produce toxic smoke that would cause huge problems for human health. And the working process can cause water and air pollution. The article also mentioned that European Union and Japanese government has doing really good job to avoid electronic waste pollutions by requiring electronic factories to collect and recycle their own products, or working with other company to do the recycling job. Around the world many countries have joined together to protect the global environment, the Basel Convention was an example. It is an international treaty that makes it illegal to export toxic electronic waste. However, the United States remains the only industrialized country that has not joined the treaty. Unfortunately, the United States’ government has not taken any actions to address electronic recycling.
        After reading this article, I think the public should not only rely on government regulation or industry’s action: consumers should also take steps to protect the environment. For example, we could carefully use our electronics and keep them in good working condition to extend their usefulness. Also we can recycle the ones we no longer use through certified recycling services. On the other hand, the public should push government to pass a law or an act which require the electronics factories to take responsibility to recycle their own products.
--Jian Jiao

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