How to Trick a Journalist

If you're going to try to convince them that 80% of e-waste electronics exports are junk:

1)  Show sea containers
2)  Show the dump in the importing country
3)  Since everything at the dump is junk, then the computers exported were junk.  (Optional, stick a big eyed child in the photos)

If you want to convince the journalist that 80% of the ewaste exports are good:

1) Show sea containers
2) Show an internet cafe in the importing country
3) Since no one at the internet cafe is using a new computer, then exports lead to development.

Neither of these is science.  Either one, by itself, is a waste of airplane fare.

You need the total number of containers shipped, assume 30,000 lbs per container (some are 20' containers, some are 40'), look at the dollars, and deduce the dollars per pound.  Then you get copies of the purchase orders.  You estimate the weight of the junk at the landfill, you estimate the count of the computers in the internet cafes, and visa versa.

What you find is not a black and white picture.  You find good, bad and ugly - the ugly being dirty and difficult recycling jobs that are better than the alternative, the good being internet and repair and reuse, and the bad being "toxics along for the ride".

Under no circumstances is a no export policy the right solution.  That is exactly the stupidest solution.  You need better people to participate in the trade, and to encourage goodness.

Unfortunately, Kenya and Egypt are banning the import of used computers.  Tragically, USA non-profit organizations are applauding this.

napolean dance
Napolean - Dynamite!

No comments: