Fastest growing waste all over developed countries is electronic waste according to EPA. These wastes contain a lot of toxic materials. The elements like barium, mercury, cadmium, and lead in these damages the nervous system when it enters the drinking water streams. The flame retardant plastics, release fumes that damages the endocrine systems, gets into the climatic system.
There are no federal regulations regarding electronic waste disposal. Instead of disposing these wastes safely, the waste disposal companies are sending these wastes to countries like India, Pakistan, China, Ghana. Here the people are made to burn these wastes to recover the metals. They inhale these toxic fumes. The PBS had a show on frontline called “Digital Dumping Ground” that discusses this problem.
Some of the unscrupulous companies may say what do we care if some people in poor countries die? It is not that simple; the toxic fume that goes up in smoke in one place comes down as acid rain somewhere else. Water streams are connected. Workers are mobile, they may migrate to your territory someday. Besides we rich nations contribute to World Health Organization, and we are fighting natural diseases, and we do not want to spend additional resources on man-made diseases. So we are all connected. As Ernest Hemmingway said:
“Every man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved with mankind,
Ask not for whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for you and me”
Action Items we can take:
- We should mandate that all our customers using SAP have a clean record of E-Waste disposal in order to get certified as Sustainable companies to get product price breaks.
- I will be personally be writing to my congressman, creating public blogs, write to white house, and local newspaper so that we make laws to fine these companies.
- Please join me in writing to your elected officials.