Greenpeace activists deliver a truckload of toxic electronic waste to the Hewlett Packard's (HP) European headquarters in Geneva. Greenpeace is calling on all dirty electronics companies to stop using toxic chemicals in their products. The organization is conducting ongoing investigations into scrap yards in India and China, where much of the e-waste is illegally exported.
"Electronics companies like Hewlett-Packard are generating a
new, fast growing hazardous waste stream that's causing problems of
global proportions. As much as 4,000 tonnes of toxic e-waste is
discarded every hour -- that's equivalent to 1,000 elephants (2).
Unless they start making clean machines and take their products
back when they're discarded, the planet's going to become a toxic
trash bin," said Greenpeace China campaigner, Kevin May, talking
from the action site in Geneva.
Because our mobile phones, computers and other electronic
products are made using toxic ingredients, workers at production
sites are at risk of exposure and the products cannot be recycled
safely when they are discarded. Many are routinely, and often
illegally, being shipped from Europe, Japan and the US to Asia
because it is cheaper and easier to dump the problem on countries
that have poor environmental standards than to tackle it at home.
Greenpeace is conducting ongoing investigations into scrap yards
in India and China, where it has found people taking the e-waste
apart by hand and being exposed to a nasty cocktail of dangerous
"The conditions in these yards are horrific. In Guiyu, southeast
China, I found acid baths leaching into streams. They were so
acidic they could dissolve a penny in just hours. Many of the
chemicals used in electronics are dangerous and can damage people
even at very low levels of exposure," said Greenpeace International
scientist, Kevin Brigden.
Greenpeace has asked all the top mobile phone and computer
companies worldwide to clean up their act. Companies such as
Samsung, Sony and Sony Ericsson have already taken a first step by
eliminating brominated flame retardants and PVC plastic from some
of their products. Sony Ericsson has committed to removing them
from all their products by the end of 2005. Nokia has committed to
do the same by the end of 2006 but Hewlett Packard, Apple, Dell,
Fujitsu-Siemens, IBM, LG, Motorola, Panasonic, and Toshiba have, to
date, made no such commitment. (4)
These dirty companies were shamed at the opening of a technology
expo in Beijing this morning when Greenpeace unveiled a 2.7 metre
high statue shaped as a wave, built using the companies' e-waste,
collected from the yards in Giuyu.
Other contacts: Kevin May, toxics campaigner, Greenpeace China, currently in Geneva. Interviews in English and Chinese on +852 90782094Iza Kruszewska, toxics campaigner, Greenpeace International, currently in Geneva. Interviews in English and Polish on +44 7801 212 992Matthias Wuthrich, toxics campaigner, Greenpeace Switzerland. Interviews in German on +41 44 447 41 31Clement Tolusso, Greenpeace Switzerland communications, Interviews in French on +41 79 213 41 06. Kevin Bridgen, Greenpeace International Science Unit. Interviews in English on +44 7968 844 906
VVPR info: IMAGES OF TODAY'S ACTION AND THE E-WASTE SCRAP YARDS IN CHINA ARE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST FROM GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONSVideo: Michael Nagasaka +31 6 461 66309Photo: John Novis +31 6 538 19121
Notes: Notes to Editors:(1) See Greenpeace commissioned report by TNO, "The Determination of Selected Additives in Consumer Products", TNO R 2004/002, Dec 2003 and, for further information on toxic tech, the chemicals routinely used in electronic products and their potential health impacts see http://www.greenpeace.org/consumertnoreporthttp://www.greenpeace.org/toxtechchemicals(2) UNEP estimate that 20-50 million tones of e-waste are discarded worldwide every year. That's an average of 35 million tones, or 4,000 tonnes per hour. This calculation is based on the average weight of an Asian elephant: 4,000 kg.(3) see: http://www2.vrom.nl/pagina.html?id=9396 (4) for details of the companies' commitments, or lack of them, see http://www.greenpeace.org/electronics/companyrank
Exp. contact date: 2006-05-23 00:00:00