Child Labor in India’s E-Waste Toxic Hellscapes

Child Labor in Indias E-Waste Toxic Hellscapes

E-WASTE RECYCLING SITES ARE TOXIC WASTE HELLSCAPES WITH CHILD LABOR

E-waste is a major problem these days.  Sure, it always used to be.  But now we have more electronics going in the garbage than ever before.  It used to just be ancient tube tv’s and then transistor radios.  But now it’s everything.  Computers in all forms.  Peripherals in even more forms.  Portable devices, etc, etc, etc.  But all of that translates into millions of tons of toxic garbage.  And rich countries like Australia have to send that somewhere.  This is where India comes into play.  But India’s e-waste processing centers are hellscapes of toxic waste, with child labor workers.  It’s really disturbing to know. 

Read More: China Has Banned Their Crazy Imports of Plastic Waste, But What Now?

INDIA HAS PROTECTIVE REGULATIONS, BUT THEY’RE NOT REALLY ENFORCED AT ALL

So what do these e-waste processing centers do?  Well, they recycle, of course.  And that is really important.  But markets like India have disturbingly dangerous working conditions, especially for child labor.  But then when you consider their environmental controls it’s just kind of insane.  So of course, India has done what they can to be more modern and responsible about all of this.  As recently as 2016 India established pretty comprehensive regulations for the recycling of e-waste.  But just like bank fraud in the United States, these regulations aren’t really enforced at all. 

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CHILDREN LABOR WITH NO PROPER TOOLS, PROTECTION, CONSTANT EXPOSURE TO DANGEROUS TOXINS

Researchers from the University of New South Wales, or UNSW, issued a report from their work in India.  Specifically, they looked at two slums outside of Delhi, Seelampur and Mandoli.  Truckloads of e-waste are dumped in these slums every day.  That’s where the mostly child labor work hard to dismantle the garbage for recycling.  But these kids don’t even have the most basic of safety equipment.  So you can forget about anything like goggles, gloves or masks.  So that means no work shoes either.  But do they even have the right or safe tools to pull precious metals and components from the garbage?  Alas, no. 

KIDS MAKE A FEW DOLLARS A DAY TO POISON THEMSELVES

But it gets even worse.  Guess how you remove components that you can’t get out by hand?  The industry calls it acid-immersion and open-air incineration.  So yes, it is as awful as it sounds.  And these kids are around it every day, with no protection.  These laborers make about $3-11 each day.  But kids, of course, are at the bottom of the payscale. These really are hellscapes.

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