05
May
08

Let’s not be e-wasteful

At the age of 21 years I have used approximately six mobile phones. I have lost one, one was broken and thrown away after being put through the washing machine, one was lent to a friend and stolen, two sit in my drawer at home and one is currently resides in my handbag.

Mobile waste has become a rising concern among many environmentalists as it is the fastest growing source of urban pollution. As as form of e-waste, mobiles that are not properly disposed of can have serious toxic environmental and health consequences due to the amount of lead, mercury and cadmium in electronic devices.

Chemicals and toxins from e-waste are known to lead to serious health problems like reproductive failures, deformities, thyroid malfunctions, immune suppression and behavioural abnormalities.

Not only do mobile phones have toxic parts, but they also have a very short life span – often discarded (or handed down) when cell phone contracts are renewed once every two years.

The problem is introduced when the electronic devices are dumped in landfills, or are shipped off to developing countries that have lower environmental standards so that the waste can be processed. Currently electronic waste represents two percent of America’s trash in landfills, and equals 70 percent of overall toxic waste. It is estimated that America alone exports 80 percent of its e-waste to China, India and Pakistan.

E-waste is becoming more of a problem in Africa. Nigeria is fast becoming one of the most popular countries in the world to dump e-waste. Children sift through the e-waste, the poor burn it for fuel and groundwater is becoming contaminated by landfills filled with electronic waste.

The good news is that Nokia is helping to combat the problem by setting up waste dumping centres across East Africa to reprocess old mobile phone waste, including batteries. Nokia will collect mobile phone waste for recycling and repairs as part of its environmental policy of reducing emissions of electronic waste.

So instead of leaving all those cell phones in your drawer at home, or throwing them away, why not take your old phone to a collection point for safe recycling, for a cleaner and safer environment for us all. 

To read more about how the web is trying to go green check out Qudsiya Karrim’s post on the Social Media blog!

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3 Responses to “Let’s not be e-wasteful”


  1. 1 b79
    May 5, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    As far as PCs go, One of the solutions I’ve found that help tackle e-waste and keep existing, outdated PCs going is to go with a company called Userful. They’re huge on green computing and can use a single existing PC to power up to ten workstations at once. This is a huge way to help combat e-waste and bring outdated PCs back to life. You can find out more on this here – http://www.userful.com.

  2. 2 kelescheppers
    May 6, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I still carry my old brick. I’ve been trying to get someone to steal it – no such luck. But your post has made me think twice. As usual Africa is being used to dump whatever more developed countries don’t want. When will this abusive cycle stop? I guess Nokia is trying to improve the situation, but maybe they’re trying to get rid of old cellphones so that consumers won’t feel as guilty when purchasing a new one. Oh the beauty of capitalism… Sigh.

  3. 3 theDON
    May 20, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    nice work miss daniel!very niiiice!am learning a lot from these blogs of yours…. didn’t even know about e-waste til i read this,and i must say – am paying more attention to the effects of mobile media. For example… on a recent week end getaway to cape town, i read in one of the airline magazines that an e-waste recylcing centre has finally been built in Cape Town in order to control the excess amount of e-waste that is being “disposed of” in the area..

    So keep up the good work tracey d
    til we meet again… 😉
    X


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