As we rip and replace our IT equipment, do we really know where the equipment is going? Do we rely care? We all know that data security is an important part of the decommissioning process. But what about the physical remains? What happens to the so-called electronic waste or e-waste? They certainly don’t go to the eternal bits and bytes fields. No, they go to places like Agbogbloshie. Have a look at this New York Times slide show.
And Agbogbloshie, a slum in Accra, the capital of Ghana isn’t the only place. Sher Shah, Karachi in Pakistan, Mumbai, Chennai in India, and Guiyu in China are some other electronic-waste capitals of this globe. Dangerous, toxic, poisoned places. And they all look the same …
As stated “The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, agreed to in 1989 and now adopted by a majority of nations, was meant to stop the dumping of toxic waste in poor countries. But rules get complicated when the waste arrives as a gift.” Trade routes of the past are now used to transport 21th century toxic e-waste.
It is estimated that 4 million metric tons of electronic waste (e-waste) is shipped globally every year. Often in violation with the international law, e-waste is exported by developed countries to developing ones. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the e-waste collected for recycling is being exported in this way. This practice is legal because the US has not ratified the Basel Convention.
With Green IT much emphasis is placed on energy usage but Green IT is also about the proper decommissioning of IT components. The pictures show more then enough. There is no need to wait for ratification to take action.
Professional Green IT also means proper formal processing of electronic waste to prevent the poisoning of our environment. It is mandatory.