Hi-tech industry members attending Computex Taipei, Asia’s largest and world’s 2nd largest technology exhibition, were greeted by a different kind of exhibition today, put on by international environmental group Greenpeace.
Nine Greenpeace activists wearing protective gears held pictures that depicted the horrific working and environmental conditions at e-waste scrap yards and stated “Hi-Tech Industry: Go Toxics Free Now!” in both English and Chinese.
Nine Greenpeace activists wearing protective gears held pictures that depicted the horrific working and environmental conditions at e-waste scrap yards and stated "Hi-Tech Industry: Go Toxics Free Now!" in both English and Chinese. Other activists on the street handed out informational brochures exposing the environmentally unfriendly policies of the hi-tech industry. Greenpeace is calling on the electronics industry worldwide to take responsibility for the lifecycle of their products and start producing toxics-free products. It is especially calling on the Taiwanese hi-tech giant, Acer, to keep its promise of releasing a toxics phase-out plan by 3rd quarter of this year.
"Inside those flashy hi-tech products exhibited at Computex Taipei are toxic substances that are harmful to the environment and people's health," said Greenpeace toxics campaigner Jamie Choi. Because it is impossible to safely recycle or dispose of products that contain toxics, communities surrounding scrap yards are heavily polluted and workers are at risk from exposure to these toxic substances, including heavy metals (e.g. lead and mercury) and organic pollutants (e.g. brominated flame retardants and PVC). "We hope that next year, the truly innovative products exhibited at Computex Taipei will not be the ones with the coolest designs or newest gadgets but those that do not contain any toxic substances," added Choi.
Greenpeace also used its opportunity in Taiwan to remind Taiwanese company Acer to keep its promise of releasing a toxics phase-out plan. "Acer made a global promise to the general public last year that it will release a comprehensive toxics phase-out plan by the 3rd quarter of 2006, and that time is quickly approaching. We urge Taiwanese citizens today to act as watchdogs and make sure that Acer keeps this promise," stated Choi.
If Acer is to keep its promise, it will be following the footsteps of electronic companies such as HP, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, and Sony-Ericsson who have already set timelines to phase-out hazardous substances in their products. Apple, Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, Lenovo, Motorola, Panasonic, and Toshiba have, to date, made no such commitments.
 Greenpeace urges all IT companies to phase out the toxic chemicals on the OSPAR Plus List. The OSPAR Plus list is originated from the OSPAR convention, an international convention which aims at protecting the marine environment of the North East Atlantic. The convention lists a range of chemicals for priority action. For details of the OSPAR Plus List, please see Appendix I.
 See http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/electronics/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics/