60 Minutes ran a segment this evening on the real digital garbage: e-waste, namely, CRTs, computers, cell phones, and other digital junk thrown away by Americans who think they’re recycling, but which sometimes end up in illegal dumps in places like Hong Kong:
60 Minutes is going to take you to one of the most toxic places on Earth – a place government officials and gangsters don’t want you to see. It’s a town in China where you can’t breathe the air or drink the water, a town where the blood of the children is laced with lead.
It’s worth risking a visit because much of the poison is coming out of the homes, schools and offices of America. This is a story about recycling – about how your best intentions to be green can be channeled into an underground sewer that flows from the United States and into the wasteland.
For additional info on problems with e-waste, here’s links to GAO reports on e-waste:
- Electronic Waste: Observations on the Role of the Federal Government in Encouraging Recycling and Reuse (July 26, 2005);
- Electronic Waste: Strengthening the Role of the Federal Government in Encouraging Recycling and Reuse (Nov. 10, 2005);
- Electronic Waste: EPA Needs to Better Control Harmful U.S. Exports through Stronger Enforcement and More Comprehensive Regulation (Aug. 28, 2008);
- Electronic Waste: Harmful U.S. Exports Flow Virtually Unrestricted Because of Minimal EPA Enforcement and Narrow Regulation (Sep. 17, 2008).