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|by M. D. Mukesh|
Few days after landing maple land, While setting-up my grad office (#K103) at Engmath@Dal.Ca, we (my Prof, Head, me; Wondered the 'self-help' nature!) were cleaning up hundreds of junks from one room and crammed it up to an another total-junk room. At the end, I was lost in agape, as dozens of - CPUs, obsolete PCs, printers, fax machine, cables, keyboards, office phones, and miscellaneous plastics - are all what we dumped as wastes. First glimpse at the pile of E-waste, besides my knowledge of municipal-solid & liquid wastes and the high-end Nuclear-waste. It was only an ad-hoc and immediate measure: transfer all inoperative e-gadgets as e-garbage and dump in a room and smile as if problem is solved. Since legally Department as such could not tag the waste to nearby landfill, or it should pay extra [comparatively astronomical for merely exporting the e-junks to Noranda Inc, Quebec] for high-tech clean-up program of recycling e-wastes, which at least Halifax doesn't have.
At macro-level, there are two ways to handle the E-Wastes: Dispose or Recycle/Refurbish.
Exporting e-toxic wastes to Third world countries could be a quite embarrassing but convenient solution to USA and Canada. Rationale: Easy to smuggle the sources of wastes and utter, "Unexplained losses"; Cost of transporting is meager to the costs/risks in living with toxic pollutants; Could keep its Landfills toxic-waste-free and meeting the US-EPA clean-up and health standards. The export is done under the banner of "Recycling E-Waste" technology as a trend-setting enviro-trade. Recycling needs to be done at high-cost and protective conditions, that it doesn't impair the health/enviro-conditions of the recycler. But the third World country-recyclers are just happy enough to do 'any' Foreign-based business; It's easy for them to eyewash their governments and do things as carelessly as possible. So they waive-off the standards of recycling-technology and pollute themselves. Recently NGOs, enviro-activists and watchdogs zeroed down the transfer of pollutions across the hemispheres and charged U.S and Canada are using 'immorally' the economic coercion upon the Third world countries. Despite their rhetoric noises, the lobbyists at White House mutes down the environmentalists and whistle-blowers, saying that, "We have conveyed them the 'required' technology to recycle; It's up to them to follow it or not".
Following is the clever tactic summoned up, to relegate the raising voices against the 'Export of Toxic-wastes' to obscurity, by the chief economist for the World Bank (Shocking info is, later he served also as President of Harvard University & Secretary of the United States Treasury, under President Bill Clinton): "... I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. ..." The key logic is, Under populated = Under polluted. Trading hazards by shipping the e-wastes in containers is no longer secretive and a viable substitute is dumping it in the un-polluted regions of some other continent. There is a merciless, cold and arrogant strategy behind this -"Disease caused in an Industrialized and powerful society, due to pollution is of much 'universal' concern than the same disease caused in a deprived society where already it thrives of very high mortality rates". Canada, as a puppet of Sam, trumpets the same ideology, though its currently been severely ripped off by its 'enormous' shipment of hazards to China. Indomitable and powerful dollars are tainted, morally at the core. Besides, Euro is cleaner than Dollar!
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