Guiyu-Custom Design Circuit Board
Main article: Electronic waste in China
Guiyu in the Shantou region of China is a massive electronic waste processing community. It is often referred to as the "e-waste capital of the world." Traditionally, Guiyu was an agricultural community; however, in the mid-1990s it transformed into an e-waste recycling center involving over 75% of the local households and an additional 100,000 migrant workers. Thousands of individual workshops employ laborers to snip cables, pry chips from circuit boards, grind plastic computer cases into particles, and dip circuit boards in acid baths to dissolve the precious metals. Others work to strip insulation from all wiring in an attempt to salvage tiny amounts of copper wire. Uncontrolled burning, disassembly, and disposal has led to a number of environmental problems such as groundwater contamination, atmospheric pollution, and water pollution either by immediate discharge or from surface runoff (especially near coastal areas), as well as health problems including occupational safety and health effects among those directly and indirectly involved, due to the methods of processing the waste.
A number of studies have been conducted to measure a number of chemicals associated with informal e-waste recycling in the populations. One study enrolled children from Guiyu and a control site 50 km away to measure blood lead levels (BLLs). The average BLL in Guiyu was 15.3 ug/dL compared to 9.9 ug/dL in the control site. In the United States, the CDC has set a reference level for blood lead at 5 ug/dL. High levels of lead in young children can impact IQ and the development of the central nervous system. The highest concentrations of lead were found in the children of parents whose workshop dealt with circuit boards and the lowest was among those who recycled plastic.
Six of the many villages in Guiyu specialize in circuit-board disassembly, seven in plastics and metals reprocessing, and two in wire and cable disassembly. Greenpeace, an environmental group, sampled dust, soil, river sediment and groundwater in Guiyu. They found very high levels of toxic heavy metals and organic contaminants in both places. Lai Yun, a campaigner for the group found "over 10 poisonous metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium."
Guiyu is only one example of digital dumps but similar places can be found across the world in Nigeria, Ghana, and India. With amounts of e-waste growing rapidly each year urgent solutions are required. While the waste continues to flow into digital dumps like Guiyu there are measures that can help reduce the flow of e-waste.
A suggested preventative step involves the major electronics firms removing the worst chemicals in their products in order to make them safer and easier to recycle.
|Professional Manufactur Custom Design Circuit Board Electronic Pcb|