Monday, August 31, 2009

This just gets to me

E waste

If you look to the left of the buildings in the photo you'll see a smoldering pile of trash. That pile is made up of all the computer monitors and components, TVs and cell phones that the U.S. and other countries throw away. Dumping them on China where they make one of the most toxic places on earth is not being a nice neighbor. I know of all the chemicals they speak of in this article. I've dealt with them all in my eighteen plus years of removing hazardous waste. What saddens me is that in spite of cheap labor that this is a very expensive way to do the job. The costs will be in terms human life and the clean up of the ground and water at some point.
As I said I've done this for many years. So how do I know the nasties I've handled didn't land up being dumped by the side of the road? First the way the paper trail is set up it wouldn't be in my best interest financially to just dump it. Hazardous waste has a cradle to grave paper work. What's that mean? It means that the person who owns the property where the waste was removed is the legal owner of that waste from the time it's removed until it is put into an industrial land fill or recycled. There are criminal charges for doing otherwise. I'll be damned if I'd go to jail for some lazy supervisor or corrupt company owner.
Now there are those that just hate government getting involved in anything we do but to go back to when there was no EPA would not be a smart move. In the past companies dumped their waste in their own backyards because they didn't know better. It was out of sight out of mind until people started getting sick.

All it will take to end the dumping problem here in the U.S. will be for a couple of company executives to do some hard prison time. They would be, by their actions, comitting a form of murder. Economic penalties aren't going to do it. With the protection of the corporate structure and legalities a company can go bankrupt, forfiet any assets as penalties, then open its doors under a different name. We've seen that enough times in the past


Holte Ender said...

I saw a piece about it on 60 Minutes last night. Shocking.

Tom Harper said...

The Chinese government has been known to execute high-ranking business tycoons when they've caused massive deaths and health problems.

For all of China's faults, we could learn a few things from them.

an average patriot said...

That really is something. You never think about this. I watched that special a week or two ago and officials were tailing them and making things difficult. Seems to me you would go out of you way to have that in another country. I do not understand how it is not possible to do something with it.

BBC said...

I'd read about how nasty it is over there, but I don't know what can be done about it when American companies just want to pass the stuff on so they don't have to deal with it. And then buy the salvaged stuff back cheap. I think they're doing that in India also.

A bank was just held up over here, cops and choppers all over the place with streets blocked off.

Interesting shit, well not so much, it's just some monkeys fucking around.

S.W. Anderson said...

Good post on a really important and disturbing matter, Demeur. Your professional knowledge adds a lot.

I recall a newspaper story a couple years back about electronics waste being sent to India. There, individuals and families strip out gold- and brass-containing components, and others, and burn the rest in backyard ovens. Those ovens churn out toxic smoke that makes the air in large sections of densely populated cities disgusting and dangerous to breathe. The people do it because they're extemely poor and have few options for making a living.

The only answer I can see is for governments of these countries to step in and prohibit things like open burning and having poor people with no training and no protection do this kind of work.

Randal Graves said...

Exactly. Hell with monetary penalties, a sentence in a federal pound-you-in-the-ass prison should do the trick for these supposed law n' order types.