Video: Electronic Wasteland – Where your gadgets go after they die [CBS 60 Minutes]

Where do the millions of computer monitors, cell phones and other electronic refuse our society generates end up?
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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.

Scott Pelley reports on the toxic e-waste recycling practices in China. A CBS team tracks a shipping container filled with CRT monitors being smuggled from the US to Hong Kong. They sneakily try to report on the conditions they come across in Guiyu, China, the cargo’s ultimate destination: poisoned air and water, increased cancer rates, government collusion. During the filming they get into a scuffle with business owners who are operating in the “illegal” (de jure – illegal, de facto – tolerated) cottage industry.

Important quote from the piece:

You know, it’s a hell of a choice between poverty and poison. We should never make people make that choice. – Jim Puckett, founder of the Basel Action Network

Find responsible E-recyclers in the US

Related posts:
E-Dump or how I learned to stop upgrading and love my old gadgets [Photos, Video]
Environmentalism & Poverty: Greenery for everyone?
What appropriate techology folks can learn from Apple (and what they can learn from us)
Tech transfer and toxic trash: CFLs
Waste Round-up (04/18/07)
A Recycled Life [Film]

Hat-tip Jason Fried

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