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Posted Wed Aug 4 2010: from BBC:
Europe breaking electronic waste export ban
"We have an extraordinary amount of illegal shipment along the coast in Europe", says Karl-Heinz Florenz, a German member of the European Parliament who is working to update EU law. Traffickers trick the authorities by not labelling goods as electronics, by pretending they are for re-use, or by hiding them in the middle of a container. The containers that get through are shipped to West Africa - most commonly Ghana and Nigeria - and to South Asian countries including India and Pakistan. "The fundamental problem with electronics is that it's designed in a very bad way," says Kim Schoppink, a campaigner at the Dutch branch of Greenpeace who travelled to Ghana to look at the issue in 2008. "That makes it very expensive to recycle in Europe and therefore it's dumped in developing countries."... The e-waste contains valuable metals, which are extracted at informal recycling sites. But it also contains toxic heavy metals and hazardous chemicals that are handled by workers, some of them children. "They take some copper and aluminium and the rest they burn," says Ms Schoppink. "With this burning process a lot of toxic chemicals are released and these workers are exposed to that every day."
[Read more stories about: electronic waste, toxic buildup]

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