Choose Your Headline:
1) Man killed crossing railroad tracks
2) Man killed in shark attack
3) Man killed in combat fighting.
Rank these in A) order of risk, and B) order of press coverage.
Press is attracted to "man bites dog" stories. (in other words, A and B are "inversely proportional").
(pSST* railroad tracks, that's what kills the most people per year. shhh!*)
The fact that something is exported for proper repair and recycling, and is properly repaired and recycled, is not pressworthy. If something is exported for proper repair and recycling, but is actually disposed and creates pollution, that is the "shark attack".
Actual risk? See video:
When USA exporters tell an African repairman that the oldest 50% of electronics is worth repairing, they are lying. But when non-profits state that 80% of the items exported to Africa are for dumping, not repair and reuse, they are lying too. But it is much easier for the non-profit to find press than for the African to find a different, more honest, USA exporter.
The transport to Africa has no "reverse transport" or "backhaul" sea container economies, and African buyers pay full freight - $8000 per container. No doubt there is TAR - Toxics Along for the Ride - but 80% junk is not a repeatable excercise.
The non-profits believe what they are saying, fervently, but when they say it is 75% or 80% waste, they are lying. They are so upset about the shark attack that they will exaggerate the risk. And as a result of the lies, governments will stop export of used computers entirely, and people will not get computerized blood donation trackings, and people will die. On the railroad tracks.
You see, women are dying in childbirth in Africa, because African med students lack computers to learn blood donation inventory and management systems, that happens every day. That is a railroad crossing accident.
Some USA companies refuse to export PCs to Africa, and they are hence innocent of exporting junk. Others export everything, including the junk which is expensive to recycle, and then applaud this blog and say their exports help Africans.
The Africans I know and have lived with want good people to export good computers. They don't want good people to destroy good computers. They don't want bad people to export bad computers. They are *&@*ing 100% smarter than 60 Minutes.
Deaths from shark attacks in the USA are, plus or minus, one every two years. Around 1,000 Americans die crossing the railroad tracks every year, much higher a death toll than troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.
A similar number of women die in childbirth in Cameroon daily. One of my students did, when I was a teacher in Cameroon. We didn't have the internet then. But if I was a teacher in Cameroon today, by God, I would want the hospital to have a used computer if I had a student in labor.
I repeat. If "tested working" accomplishes the same number or computers exported as overseas repair does, I will stand down. If "tested working" is supporting big shredding investments and planned obsolescence by computer manufacturers, then I will export till my hands fall off. What I observe among E-Stewards is that some are exporting and saying its working (better than destroying) but the computers are actually repaired and upgraded overseas, or they are shredding and claiming "no export!" in triumph (ugh!! rich people throwing away computers rather than give them to poor people willing to fix it). I am not seeing any E-Stewards with USA repairpeople fixing computer displays.