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China Risks Becoming World Hi-tech Waste Bin

China has become a major dumping ground for electronic waste and risks becoming the world's high-tech waste bin, posing hazards for people and the environment, Greenpeace warned.


As much as 4,000 tonnes of toxic e-waste is discarded in the world every hour, equivalent to the weight of 1,000 elephants, the global environmental group said in a statement on Monday.


While there is no breakdown on how much of the global electronic waste ends up in China, Greenpeace said the country was a favorite dumping ground, with many of the world's electronic products being made there.


Although China has banned electronic waste from being imported, companies still export the waste there illegally while a lot more is generated domestically, said Greenpeace campaigner Yue Yihua.


"The proportion coming domestically is increasing but there is still waste coming from overseas," Yue said.


Most of the waste that is imported comes from the developed world, destinations such as the United States, Europe and Japan, the environmentalist group said.


Greenpeace said it was conducting investigations into scrap yards in China and other Asian countries, where it has found people taking the e-waste apart by hand and exposing themselves in the process to a cocktail of dangerous chemicals.


To highlight the problem, Greenpeace China Monday tried to shame electronics companies attending a show in Beijing by unveiling a 2.7-meter (8.9-foot) high statue shaped as a wave, built using the companies' electronic waste collected from e-waste recycling yards in Guiyu, south China's Guangdong Province. 


(China Daily May 24, 2005)




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