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Posted May 2nd, 2011

High Tech Trash

The National Geographic Magazine (January 2008) decided to take on the most buzzed about topic involving technology and the environment: electronic waste. In their article, High Tech Trash, they take an in-depth look at the world’s electronic waste – exactly where it is going and what we are doing about it:

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 30 to 40 million PCs will be ready for “end-of-life management” in each of the next few years. At any given time, all the machines considered state-of-the-art are simultaneously on the verge of obsolescence.

When interviewing the scrap buyers in Ghana, NGM finds: The key to making money is speed, not safety.

In the United States, it is estimated that more than 70 percent of discarded computers and monitors, and well over 80 percent of TVs, eventually end up in landfills, despite a growing number of state laws that prohibit dumping of e-waste, which may leak lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium, and other toxics into the ground. Meanwhile, a staggering volume of unused electronic gear sits in storage—about 180 million TVs, desktop PCs, and other components as of 2005, according to the EPA.

The National Geographic Magazine also includes interactive options such as:

– Testing your knowledge about electronic waste.

– “High Tech Trash” which allows you to take a tour of a computer. This interactive tour highlights the harmful components in a Cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitor and a central processing unit (CPU). The toxic chemicals are identified – as to where it is located and what its effects are.

To read the entire article and its features, please go to the National Geographic magazine website http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/2008-01/high-tech-trash/carroll-text.html

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