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Toxic E-Waste Dumped in Poor Nations, Says United Nations – Our World

Toxic E-Waste Dumped in Poor Nations, Says United Nations – Our World.

e-waste

Millions of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, toys, digital cameras and other electronic devices bought this Christmas are destined to create a flood of dangerous “e-waste” that is being dumped illegally in developing countries, the UN has warned.

The global volume of electronic waste is expected to grow by 33 percent in the next four years, when it will weigh the equivalent of eight of the great Egyptian pyramids, according to the United Nations StEP initiative, which was set up to tackle the world’s growing e-waste crisis. Last year nearly 50 million tonnes of e-waste were generated worldwide — or about seven kilograms for every person on the planet. These are electronic goods made up of hundreds of different materials and containing toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants. An old-style CRT computer screen can contain up to three kilograms of lead, for example.

Once in a landfill, these toxic materials seep out into the environment, contaminating land, water and the air. In addition, devices are often dismantled in primitive conditions. Those who work at these sites suffer frequent bouts of illness.

An indication of the level of e-waste being shipped to the developing world was revealed by Interpol last week. It said almost one in three containers leaving the EU that were checked by its agents contained illegal e-waste. Criminal investigations were launched against 40 companies. “Christmas will see a surge in sales and waste around the world,” saysRuediger Kuehr, Executive Secretary of StEP. “The explosion is happening because there’s so much technical innovation. TVs, mobile phones and computers are all being replaced more and more quickly. The lifetime of products is also shortening.”

According to the StEP report, e-waste — which extends from old fridges to toys and even motorized toothbrushes — is now the world’s fastest growing waste stream. China generated 11.1 million tonnes last year, followed by the US with 10 million tonnes, though there was significant difference per capita. For example, on average each American generated 29.5 kilograms, compared to less than five kilograms per person in China.

By 2017, Kuehr expects the volume of end-of-life TVs, phones, computers, monitors, e-toys and other products to be enough to fill a 15,000-mile line of 40-tonne lorries. In Europe, Germany discards the most e-waste in total, but Norway and Liechtenstein throw away more per person. Britain is now the world’s seventh most prolific producer, discarding 1.37 million tonnes, or about 21 kilograms per person. No figures are available from government or industry on how much is exported.

Although it is legal to export discarded goods to poor countries if they can be reused or refurbished, much is being sent to Africa or Asia under false pretences, says Interpol. “Much is falsely classified as ‘used goods’ although in reality it is non-functional. It is often diverted to the black market and disguised as used goods to avoid the costs associated with legitimate recycling,” said a spokesman. “A substantial proportion of e-waste exports go to countries outside Europe, including west African countries. Treatment in these countries usually occurs in the informal sector, causing significant environmental pollution and health risks for local populations,” he said.

Few countries understand the scale of the problem, because no track is kept of all e-waste, says the European Environment Agency, which estimates between 250,000 tonnes and 1.3 million tonnes of used electrical products are shipped out of the EU every year, mostly to west Africa and Asia. “These goods may subsequently be processed in dangerous and inefficient conditions, harming the health of local people and damaging the environment,” said a spokesman.

new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that the US discarded 258.2 million computers, monitors, TVs and mobile phones in 2010, of which only 66 percent was recycled. Nearly 120 million mobile phones were collected, most of which were shipped to Hong Kong, Latin America and the Caribbean. The shelf life of a mobile phone is now less than two years, but the EU, US and Japanese governments say many hundreds of millions are thrown away each year or are left in drawers. In the US, only 12 million mobile phones were collected for recycling in 2011 even though 120 million were bought. Meanwhile, newer phone models are racing on to the market leaving old ones likely to end up in landfills. Most phones contain precious metals. The circuit board can contain copper, gold, zinc, beryllium, and tantalum, the coatings are typically made of lead and phone makers are now increasingly using lithium batteries. Yet fewer than 10 percent percent of mobile phones are dismantled and reused. Part of the problem is that computers, phones and other devices are becoming increasingly complex and made of smaller and smaller components.

The failure to recycle is also leading to shortages of rare-earth minerals to make future generations of electronic equipment.

 

This Is How The NSA Is Tracking You This Instant | Zero Hedge

This Is How The NSA Is Tracking You This Instant | Zero Hedge.

That little “entertaining” cell phone in your back pocket, which you are so addicted to thanks to all its apps, videos, messaging function and all other cool bells and whistles, that you can’t possibly live without? It is simply the definitive NSA tracking beacon used to find where you are at any given moment. The following infographic explains how the NSA does just that…

 

Obama May Or May Not Have Tapped Angela Merkel’s Cell Phone | Zero Hedge

Obama May Or May Not Have Tapped Angela Merkel’s Cell Phone | Zero Hedge. (source)

In a stunning claim, Germany’s Der Speigel reports that theUS targeted Angela Merkel’s private mobile phone for years

  • *MERKEL TOLD OBAMA TAPPING WOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE, SEIBERT SAYS
  • *MERKEL COMPLAINED TO OBAMA ABOUT PHONE SURVEILLANCE: SPIEGEL
  • *MERKEL DEMANDS FULL EXPLANATION FROM OBAMA, SPIEGEL SAYS

So Obama promptly complied:

  • *OBAMA TOLD MERKEL U.S. NOT TAPPING HER PHONE, SPIEGEL SAYS

We await Snowden and Greenwald’s clarification…

Carney is now denying it all in the WH press conference:

  • *CARNEY SAYS OBAMA, MERKEL SPOKE ABOUT NSA ALLEGATIONS TODAY
  • *CARNEY SAYS OBAMA ASSURED MERKEL HER PHONE NOT MONITORED
  • *CARNEY SAYS MERKEL, OBAMA AGREED TO INTENSIFY COOPERATION
  • *CARNEY: NOT MONITORING, WILL NOT MONITOR MERKEL COMMUNICATIONS

 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About US Household Income Allocation | Zero Hedge

10 Things You Didn’t Know About US Household Income Allocation | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

Four decades ago no one had cell phones, the Internet, or personal computers; households had landlines, only offices or research centers had any kind of computer, and wireless anything wasn’t even close on the horizon. These days, of course, there is more than 1 cell phone per person in the US, laptops are standard fare, and using dial-up or wired Ethernet is like living in the Stone Age. But each of these technological advances comes with a cost; and, more specifically, a cost a family in the 1970s didn’t have to cover. The price of a cell phone plan and wireless internet is well over $1,000 per year; more if you add in the price of a $1,500 laptop or a $200 smartphone, which most of us tend to replace after a few years of wear and tear.

With average post-tax income of $63,000, according to the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey, these bills might not seem like a lot to shell out – only about 4% of post-tax wages – but they’re costs that the families of 1973 avoided completely. How have the households of the 21st century managed to incorporate these added expenses?

Surprisingly, though, the average household in 2012 spent a bit less of its post-tax income than its counterpart from 1973: 81.2% versus 85%. Part of this is simply a matter of size: there were 2.5 people per household in 2012 and 2.9 in 1973. But regardless of family size, the way we spend on just about everything has changed – and not just because we pay for multiple smartphone plans and satellite TV. As prices (read: inflation) and necessities have evolved, so has the mode of income allocation among American families.

Read on for our list of “10 Thing You Didn’t Know About US Household Income Allocation”, derived from the self-reported CES data from the BLS:

 …

 

Dad who died during arrest ‘begged for his life’; witness videos … – BakersfieldCalifornian.com

Dad who died during arrest ‘begged for his life’; witness videos … – BakersfieldCalifornian.com.

 

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