Digital Waste

Natalie Behring has a photo essay: Inside the Digital Dump on the remains of our technology in the recent issue of Foreign Policy. Behring’s pictures are good and the theme/topic is familiar. Third world nations risking environmental poisoning from the digital hardware we no longer desire or can use.

The images come from the world’s biggest digital dumping ground located in Guiyu, China. Locals work for $2 per day sorting, disassembling, and pulverizing hundreds of tons of digital hardware. The purpose of their work is to get at the valuable gold and copper. Computer waste contains 17 times more gold than gold ore, 40 times more copper than copper ore. But the detritus also leaches chemicals and metals into local water supplies.

Natalie Behring

Call me cynical but I believe that the profits will move out of Guiyu while the environmental damage will remain there.

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