As technology becomes more widely used around the world, issues of e-waste, particularly its impact on the environment and human health, have garnered increased attention. A recent article in the Southern Times describes the flow of second-hand technology from Europe and North America to countries in Africa, where after a short period of time it is discarded, ending up at large dump sites. There, e-waste is broken down and often burned to extract valuable materials, releasing dangerous toxins such as mercury, cadmium and lead.
Alan Finlay, GreeningIT Project Coordinator at APC, was interviewed for the article, stating that as countries grow economically, e-waste becomes a greater issue.
“In a strong economy, imported technology will be cheaper and old technology will be more readily replaced, in this way increasing the levels of e-waste,” he says.
The article goes on to discuss ICTs as a valuable instrument for environmental protection, including forecasting, monitoring, and measuring environmental disasters. However more awareness is needed of the dangers of environmental waste, particularly by waste management agencies and government ministries.
The full Southern Times article can be found here.