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The Digital Dump


Nigerian computer landfill

The New York Times takes focus on a report published today titled "The Digital Dump: Exporting Reuse and Abuse to Africa." The report, written by Seattle's Basel Action Network, says that "much" of the used computer equipment sent from the U.S. to developing countries for reuse in schools and such is "often" neither usable nor repairable creating some serious environmental issues in the world's poorest places. The report goes so far as to claim that U.S. recycling businesses purposely use a cloak of humanitarianism as a means of dodging proper recycling expenses. The report found that as much as 75 percent of the estimated 400,000 used computers received into Nigeria each month…are junk! And without the means to repair or recycle the equipment locally it ends up in landfills (like that pictured above) wreaking all kinds of toxic havoc. The EPA concedes that "inappropriate practices" have occurred and is working on a program to provide greater assurance that exports are environmentally sound. Fortunately, our interns handle all Engadget's recycling needs as part of the hazing process — eat a plasma, get a feature!

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