Every year, hundreds of thousands of old computers and mobile phones are dumped in landfills or burned in smelters. Thousands more are exported, often illegally, from the Europe, US, Japan and other industrialised countries, to Asia. There, workers at scrap yards, some of whom are children, are exposed to a cocktail of toxic chemicals and poisons.
The rate at which these mountains of obsolete electronic products are growing will reach crisis proportions unless electronics corporations that profit from making and selling these devices face up to their responsibilities. It is possible to make clean, durable products that can be upgraded, recycled, or disposed of safely and don't end up as hazardous waste in someone's backyard.