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PC recycling in China and India worries Greenpeace

Greenpeace has condemned the amount of pollution found in some parts of China and India as a result of a burgeoning PC recycling industry, which is commonly unregulated.

In a report just published – “Recycling of Electrical Wastes in China & India: Workplace & Environmental Contamination” – Greenpeace says workers in China and India employed to recycle mostly western electronic devices are being exposed to potentially hazardous toxic substances.

Greenpeace says this is due to careless manufacturing practices among PC and other device manufacturers. The environmental organisation says large quantities of toxic heavy metals can be released into the workplace and the surrounding environment during the recycling process.

The report says investigators found high levels of toxic metals in environments around Guiyu Town in southern China and the suburbs of New Delhi.

Greenpeace researchers collected more than 70 samples from ground water, river sediment, soil and industrial waste to come to their conclusions.

Greenpeace has called for the elimination of harmful substances at the design stage, and for manufacturers to take responsibility for the recycling of their own products at the end of their lifecycle.

Companies including Dell have made recent announcements about the reduction of lead contained in their PCs, but the controlled recycling of electrical goods in the UK has been knocked back by the government’s decision to delay a European directive on the issue.

The Waste and Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive was supposed to become law this month, but it has now been delayed until July 2006.

The IT industry, retailers and other industries said they faced problems in complying with proposed new r


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