Twenty million: That's how many tires are discarded every year in New York State alone. The UN thinks that between 20 and 50 million tons of computers are thrown away as obsolete every year. Rubber tires cannot be recycled into new tires and computer parts are toxic. What can be done about this?
Discarded computers create serious risks to human health and the environment, because of the toxic chemicals they contain. Huge shipments of defunct computers are sent regularly from the US to China and India, where they are broken up for scrap. This work is often done by children working in huge dumps. This is a problem that desperately needs to be solved.
In the Independent, Michael McCarthy reports that Greenpeace is pressuring Apple to eliminate toxic substances in its computers and make their computer parts more recyclable. According to Greenpeace, Apple is in last place among computer makers when it comes to this. A surprising finding is that the Chinese firm Lenovo does the best job, since in other way, China is a major source of pollution for the whole world.
The problem with discarded rubber tires may be on its way to being solved. Discarded tires were once a public health and environmental hazard responsible for sparking toxic fires and breeding vermin and insects. Now used tires now are seen as a valuable economic resource because chips from old tires are being used to pave new roads.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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