BAN Launches Blog

Imitation, the most sincere form of flattery!

Basel Action Network announced hours ago that they have kicked off their own "e-Waste blog".  I'm happy to link to it, and hope it will help their blog rise in the google and bing rankings.  In the linked post, they are of course trying to paint over the data now coming out of Ghana, using weasel words to obfuscate the major study showing 85% of Ghana used electronics imports are legit...  No new info here, just trying to drown out news of the actual data with noisy angst.  Pay no attention to the data behind the curtain.

Still, BAN's welcome in the blogosphere. I'm completely supportive of debate, dialogue, dialectic, and reasoning.  I've never censored BAN's commentary on this blog, and why I invite them to comment here.

Anyway, fun is fun.  Below is my inaugural comment on BAN's blog, just left.  It's waiting moderation.  I hope they allow it!  It's about Functionality and the Annex IX of the Basel Convention, which says that export for repair and refurbishment is legal (and doesn't say "tested working" anywhere).

I believe in giving buyers WHAT THEY WANT.  If they want tested working, by all means, we supply it.  But if they want a certain type of unit for refurbishing for sale in a 220v country, and they are going to remove the 110v charger/adapter/power supply even IF it's working, and they are very specific and reject other types or brands (with the same amount of copper), my experience is... They are smart Geeks of Color, smart techies, and should be treated like adults.  I LIKE working with smart African geeks who know more about circuitry than I do.  It's exciting.  If they were going to burn it, they wouldn't reject the ones they reject.


  1. Robin says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Welcome to the blogosphere / debate. I’ve never censored or edited your comments on my blog, and hope to enjoy the same dialog.
    The issue is whether “functionality” is the key to value. Price paid for non-functional, newer, repairable items can be higher, and repaired items can last much longer, than “functional” pieces (especially if they are older). This is why the Basel Convention specifically allows export of items, such as display units, for repair. Basel Convention simply does not say “tested working” or “fully functional” anywwhere in the document.
    Professional exporters believe that providing importers with more choice of supplier tends to improve quality. The worst are the “no intact unit” companies, which take working and repairable equipment off the market, forcing the suppliers of internet cafes to purchase lesser quality at higher price. I hope BAN will begin in this blog to call out the ridiculous “no intact unit” claims being made by some of your Stewards.
BAN the NGO is in a bit of a quandry.  They have been extremely successful at getting their side of the export story to journalists in the mainstream press.   Terry Gross, Solly Granatstein, Oprah... their hearts fell for the story of children poisoned by computers donated by rich people and dumped by sham recyclers.   But rather than pick up the ball and support the geeks of color, who are the victims of "toxic along for the ride", they saw any successful black or Asian technician as a threat to their message.  Even when it came to the greatest environmentalist crime of the decade - shutting down of an Indonesian refurbishing factory which had put glass-to-glass recycling to deal with the hand of junk they were dealt - BAN cannot admit to a distinction between "good" and "bad" exports.  They have claimed in the past to dispute the numbers and statistics.  But as those statistics emerge - and back the Fair Trade Recycling Story, BAN finds itself hopelessly addicted to shredding money.   Selfishly, geeks of color be damned, they cannot admit to a mistake.

My blog, and others like Shanhhaiscrap, The Atlantic, IFIXIT, and video sites like viddler and youtube, are leaking information through the wall of sanctimony and falsehood.  BAN has tried to ignore us, give us the silent treatment.   But the information age works against any kind of ayatollah or tyrant.

In trying to open a good news story in Ethiopia, or trying to keep up with the blog, they will find that they cannot control the truth.  The truth is that Ethiopian technicians can buy and fix cell phones with key functions, not just take working ones.  And no one is burning the cell phones.

BAN has stepped into the ring.    

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