[BALU] Stop dumping in Africa

Jim Vines jgoodguy at charter.net
Wed Jun 13 10:27:58 CDT 2007

It appears that one way to eliminate the need to properly dispose of 
obsolete computer equipment is to 'donate' it.  Note the 500 containers 
per month in one port alone. 

This call comes after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 
announced that over 50 million metric tons of electronic e-waste are 
produced globally, much of which finds its way to the African continent 
as charitable donations.

As was reported today by Business Report, Microsoft Africa's president, 
Cheick Modibo Diarra announced that "between now and 2010, a billion 
computers should be recycled worldwide and Africa can take advantage of 
half of them."

At the 8th meeting of the Basel Convention conference, which comes up 
this week in Nairobi the capital of Kenya is to discuss digital dumping. 
African governments are urged to adopt a framework to tighten shipments 
and disposal of all kinds of electronic wastes.

Some computers, cell phones and other gadgets going out of use within 
months of production, so-called e-waste is considered the fastest 
growing part of municipal waste in Africa.

Often left to rot in expansive dumping grounds, electronic waste may 
contain traces of the toxins cadmium, mercury and lead, which can 
contaminate water supplies, wreak havoc on once fertile lands and 
contain carcinogenic elements.

Most of it is shipped to the poor world, mainly Africa, under a 
"refurbished" banner and end up in junkyards where the goods rot and 
release lead, canadium, mercury and other deadly compounds that pollute 
the environment.

Experts speculate that anywhere between 25 to 75 percent of the e-waste 
that enters Africa, mostly through Mombasa, Lagos and Dar es Salaam 
ports, is useless.

It is also reported that in Nigeria alone, about 500 containers full of 
used electronic cargo pass through the Lagos port every month, according 
to a recent study by Seattle-based Basel Action Network.



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