“Each year, between 20 and 50 million tons of electronic waste is generated globally. Most of it winds up in the developing world.”
Foreign Policy has a photo essay, “Inside the Digital Dump,” about the ungodly mounds of electronic waste we ship over to China. Oh you should go take a gander. And I offer a few sample images here for the faint of clicking. They say, by way of preface, “Welcome to the digital dumping ground, where the poor make a living off other people’s spare parts.”
If you’re looking for more on the subject check out Elizabeth Grossman’s (2006) High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health and Giles Slade’s (2006) Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. (Fancy that, here is a discussion between Grossman and Slade, at Grist; and here is a review of Grossman’s book in the recent May 4th, 2007 issue of Science.) Both books offer more substance and detail than we’re prepared to deal with.