Dealing With Discarded E-Devices

Authored by: Yvan Schulz , Benjamin Steuer

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Policy in China

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138831117
eBook ISBN: 9781315736761
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315736761.ch23

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Abstract

The issue of discarded electrical and electronic devices (DEDs) has been closely associated with China for over a decade. In the early 2000s, a group of (mostly American) NGOs released a report (Puckett et al. 2002) accompanied by a documentary in which they revealed how consumer electronics discarded in regions such as North America or Western Europe ended up in poor regions of Asia, where they were dismantled and processed by unskilled migrant workers using basic technologies. The report and documentary stressed the pollution caused by such ‘primitive’ recycling operations and its harmful impact on local populations. They referred in particular to the town of Guiyu (贵屿), located in Guangdong Province, that soon became infamous as the epitome of environmental harm resulting from technological progress and consumerism.

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