Subject:
Sociology
Material Type:
Module
Provider:
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
Tags:
Pollution
License:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, eBook, Text/HTML

Understand the challenges presented by pollution, garbage, e-waste and toxic hazzards

Module Overview

OER Text Material

Pollution, Section 20.3

In this subsection, different types of pollution are discussed. There is an insert “What Should Apple (and Friends) Do about E-Waste?” which draws attention to e-waste.

Section 1: Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

E-waste: Why We Need to Act Now (Video)

Presenter situates e-waste within the context of the technological age and argues that e-waste is a leading source of waste production. Like all other forms of waste, we [unknowingly] dispose of e-waste in ways that cause harm to ourselves, each other and the environment - and that is why we need to act now. Presenter begins by asking "what is e-waste?" In simple terms, e-waste is 'high tech trash' such as TVs, cellphones, printers, tablets, headphones, game consoles, etc. or anything that uses electricity. Even worse, non-recycled electronics are shipped to developing countries such as China, India, Ghana and many poor countries where average daily earning is less than $2.

E-waste: A Growing Environmental and Health Disaster in Ghana (Video)

The video shows toxic smoke over Ghana’s biggest discarded electronic scrap yard at Abobroshie, a suburb of Accra. The scrap dealers with few economic chances of survival work on the scraps with the hope of cashing in on the e-waste. Most of them are economic migrants from the poorest parts of the country; they live in the nearby shanty community of Sodom and Gomorrah. The scrap dealers dismantle and burn discarded electronics to retrieve copper and other metals to sell. Many of the scrap dealers/collectors are children. The impact of burning the electronics includes burns to their body, especially hands, stomach; there is also explosions from the burning gadgets. The thick black smoke from the burning gadgets make them sick. Sadly, most of them are unaware of the health and environmental implications of what they do.

Hazardous Waste: Electronics, Lead, and Landfills

The article is about the role of lead and its potential pollution. Brown argues that lead is found in almost all electronic devices and as these devices become obsolete at a rapid pace, they are disposed off in landfills where the potential environmental effects can be catastrophic. The video is based on a study by Timothy G. Townsend where 12 different types of electronic items were found to have leached lead at levels higher than EPA threshold. Townsend's goal is to help landfill regulators and managers decide what to do. However, there is less agreement on the role electronics play in landfill pollution.

The Dark Side of the Digital Age: E-Waste

The dark side of the digital age is manifested in the devastation that e-waste creates in developing nations, where the bulk of the waste is exported to; this creates a wide range of health and environmental problems. According to the article, a United Nations University (UNU) report shows that globally 41.8 million tons of e-waste was produced in 2014 with less than 1/6 (17%) of the waste properly recycled or reused. Despite some efforts to regulate transportation of hazardous e-waste across national borders, lukewarm attitude by some countries and the behavior of some shrewd businessmen make it difficult to enforce the regulations. The article ends with a suggestion of the 3Rs.

5 Facts about the Environmental Effects of E-Waste

The article describes what e-waste is, and gives examples of many gadgets that fall into the e-waste category. It argues that electronic devices can be reused, resold, salvaged, recycled or disposed but because e-waste has devastating effects on the environment, it is important that certified recycling facility handles e-waste. The main focus is the presentation of "important facts" about the environmental effects of e-waste and how Mayer Metals Corporation plays a role in B2B (business to business) e-waste recycling.

Toxic Materials – Hazards

The article deals with toxic materials (substances that may cause harm to an individual if it enters one's body) that are often used at the workplace. It describes various ways, called "route of exposure" through which such substances can enter the body. The effects of these toxic substances on the person range from mild to severe; the manifestation of their effects may be immediate (acute) or delayed (chronic). It is therefore important that workers know the potential health implications of the substances they use in their daily work

Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances

This OSHA article is about chemical hazards and toxic substances in the workplace and how workers can control their exposure to dangerous substances. It starts off by noting that these chemicals and toxics have a wide range of health and physical hazards on individuals exposed to them. Since these chemicals and toxic substances are used at workplaces, the centerpiece of the article is OSHA's regulations regarding worker exposure to the chemicals, especially the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs). The stakeholders include the OSHA, workers, chemical manufacturers and importers, and employers.