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E-Waste: Global Environmental Recycling?

Another example of the LDCs incurring the environmental risks and consequences associated with the consumption patterns of the MDCs can be found in asking oneself the question, “What happens when I throw out my old computer? My old cell phone?”

MDCs electronics are often sent to LDCs for "recycling." People there then mine for materials that can be sold, but they then encounter dangerous chemicals in the process. Moreover, soil and water supplies are contaminated, and air is polluted via incineration.

landfill full of electronics woman sorting electronics in landfill Figure 1. How do you think the electronics stored in landfills affect the surrounding areas?

Activity: View "Electronic Wasteland," a news report on the "recycling" of electronic waste from the weekly news program, "60 Minutes." As you watch this news video, make a list of the facts and figures you learn about e-waste in this piece of investigative journalism. What did you learn about where old electronics may have ended up? Whose lives are potentially being impacted by your e-waste?