Wednesday, June 24, 2009
e-waste and global health inequality
In a follow-up to our recent post, "Place Matters" on place and health inequality, we bring your attention to last night's global frontline story, "The Digital Dumping Ground" based on research by producer Peter Klein and a group pf UBC graduate students. The Digital Dumping Ground reports on the route of e-waste from the U.S. to some of the poorest communities in Ghana, China, and India. Watching the footage and its images of roads, fields, and workshops full with the industrialized world's waste is frightening enough, but to see the people forced to eek out a living "recycling" this waste is downright horrifying. While the story depicts an environmental crisis of waste, it also painfully reveals the disproportionate burden of exposure to contaminants among the world's poor and vulnerable (as a reminder watch the video series Unnatural Causes on Health inequality). Although the health consequences are already felt by those working in this unregulated disparate economy, the extent of the exposure is largely unknown to them. The story demonstrates the importance of thinking globally as we work to create more sustainable local communities.