Digital revolution poisoning the planet
By 2020, more than five billion people will own a mobile phone. Most of these will be changed every two years. This highlights two problems with these devices - their manufacture, and their disposal.
This May, Manawatu’s Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival will be showing two films about electronic devices, Death by
Design and E-Waste Tragedy. With electronic devices come a broad range of consequences - from producing the device, to the impact on our personal lives while using it and finally, disposing of it.
In Death by Design awardwinning filmmaker Sue Williams explores the underbelly of the international electronics industry and reveals how even the tiniest devices have deadly environmental and health costs.
From Chinese workers labouring in unsafe conditions, American families living with the tragic consequences of the industry’s toxic practices, to activists leading the charge to hold brands accountable, and passionate entrepreneurs who are developing more sustainable products,
Death by Design charts the environmental and human costs of our obsession with digital gadgets.
There is another side of the issue – disposing of e-waste.
In E-Waste Tragedy Cosima Dannoritzer reveals that 75 per cent of the world’s e-waste disappears from legal recycling circuits - much of it shipped illegally to India, China or Africa.
Cosima discovers that illegal recycling and waste dumping is a multimillion-dollar business. Whole cities in China are literally drowning in discarded appliances, recycled with total disregard for the environment or the future.
These films will make you question what happens to your mobile phone after you recycle it. Will it end up in China or Africa? How can we become more responsible with our personal electronics?
Audiences will be invited to discuss these questions with e-waste experts and the community. Check out the Reel Earth programme at reelearth.org.nz.
An illegal pile of e-waste, from the environmental film ‘‘E-Waste Tragedy’’.