Headline Says where E-Waste Is Born: No USA Birth Certificate

Back in 2010, before the blog's "Bullyboys" Series, before the "Firehose" Series, and before "Environmental Malpractice", or the E-Stork blogs, The UN released a report.  It said that if all the rich nations completely stop all (hypothetical, mythological, or actual) #ewaste exports from the OECD to developing nations - stopped 100% - tomorrow - you'd do nothing to stop the posterchild photos.

UNICEF poster circa 1985
UNICEF photographers share the $$
India has never been a significant destination for E-Waste, its ports are very tightly controlled.   The images of Techdogs and Nerddogs (to differentiate from "slumdogs", for those of you who don't yet get it) fixing stuff in Dharvi and Mumbai slums has nothing, nothing to do with Basel Convention or Basel Ban Amendment or CAER's export ban.

In fact, if you erased every international border crossing tomorrow, poor people would still be trying to get stuff from rich people in their own countries, from people on the other side of the tracks.  Rich people buy new stuff and poor people fix good-enough-for-them stuff.  It's like that in the USA used car and thrift shop market... jeez its so obvious I want to shoot myself for writing it again.

But at the E-Scrap Conference in Orlando, I still met lots and lots of people who think the Green-Thompson E-Waste Bill is a solution to primitive wire burning.  Big Shred will save the brown children.  And Lagos, with 6.9M households with television as of 2007, will... um... uh.

Yeah.   About that.  Here's the press release from 2010, the year that the Bullyboy Crackdown started, the year Greenpeace told UK journalists BAN's story about how the dumps in Africa were filled with material from the UK.   The year Joe Benson was targeted, a year before the Ghana E-Waste Assessment, and two years before the Nigerian E-Waste assessment studies found Benson and similar exporters sent 91% reuse - better than brand new product.
Urgent Need to Prepare Developing Countries for Surge in E-Wastes
Rocketing sales of cell phones, gadgets, appliances in China, India, elsewhere forecastProper e-waste collection, recycling key to recovering valuable materials, protecting health, building new green economyBali, 22 February 2010 - Sales of electronic products in countries like China and India and across continents such as Africa and Latin America are set to rise sharply in the next 10 years.
And, unless action is stepped up to properly collect and recycle materials, many developing countries face the spectre of hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health, according to UN experts in a landmark report released today by UNEP.
Issued at a meeting of Basel Convention and other world chemical authorities prior to UNEP's Governing Council meeting in Bali, Indonesia, the report, "Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources," used data from 11 representative developing countries to estimate current and future e-waste generation - which includes old and dilapidated desk and laptop computers, printers, mobile phones, pagers, digital photo and music devices, refrigerators, toys and televisions.
In South Africa and China for example, the report predicts that by 2020 e-waste from old computers will have jumped by 200 to 400 percent from 2007 levels, and by 500% in India
By that same year in China, e-waste from discarded mobile phones will be about 7 times higher than 2007 levels and, in India, 18 times higher.
By 2020, e-waste from televisions will be 1.5 to 2 times higher in China and India while in India e-waste from discarded refrigerators will double or triple. (continued)

China already produces about 2.3 million tonnes (2010 estimate) domestically, second only to the United States with about 3 million tonnes.

February 2010, when this report was issued, was the same month Basel Action Network was proudly announcing the Indonesian arrests of the Semarang Java refurbishing factory, which had recently installed CRT glass processing equipment (installed by one of the USA's top recyclers).  And Cahal Milmo of the UK Independent was slumming around with Greenpeace, cutting wires on TVs (surely no African could fix a cut wire!   They's have to burn the whole television to deal with that wire!!)

Hand disassembly and IFIXIT.com solutions work way better than big shredders, whose product still has to be hand sorted to a high degree.  And the idea that Ghana Techs cannot dismantle by hand their very own African-generated e-waste is fatalistic and sad.  The people saying that are saying that Africans are fundamentally different from the Americans who threw our junk TVs in the dump in 1990.   Although we rose to become E-Waste Narcissus Wunderkinds in the EU and USA, by the time E-Stewards was established, that Africans won't be able to do it for themselves.

So sad.   We are still learning the lessons of Jackie Robinson, Jack Johnson, and Malcom X.  Some of us still believe that when a black man farts, it smells different from ours.   The emerging market is generating its own e-waste, and using the value of our reuse material to incentivize proper management of the non-OECD's legacy wastes has been called CRIMINAL.   Jim Puckett and I talked again.  He reminded me I only do this to make money, he patted me on the back and said he understand that the money I want is more important to me than the little babies he's saving.

What percentage of E-Stewards Licensing Fees goes to Africa, Jim?  What percentage goes to China?   India?   Collecting money to ban trade with geeks is the wrongest thing on the planet, and the guy still gets applause for bragging about collateral damages.   Donate your money to E-Waste Nero, who fiddles while recycling and repair infrastructures are shredded.

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