Whenever one thinks of the digital divide, they picture the gap between the amount of technology available within western countries and third world nations. They think of the lack of access to hardware and software, the knowledge of how to fully utilize advances in communication and information being accessible only to wealthier societies while less advanced ones fall further and further behind. Yet one aspect of the growth of the digital era is often excluded, on that is an important aspect of the digital divide, that of “e-waste.”
Newer and better versions of everyday devices appear on a regular basis. As the masses hurry to purchase the latest i-phone or 10G doo-dad, the outdated merchandise has to go somewhere. That somewhere is often massive overseas dumping grounds. Once fertile land is transformed into dangerous and hazardous wastelands as companies dispose of used electronics in a cheap and socially and environmentally damaging fashion. People including children scratch up a meager existence harvesting old forgotten t vs and computers for scrap components and material. The process often involves being subjected to poisonous compounds and unsafe working environments for little to no pay.
This unsafe and harmful process of disposing of e-waste endangers the lives of hundreds of people. It prevents people form improving upon their homes, leaving them to live in squalor as the amount of broken and outdated technology slowly overwhelms them. E-waste holds these people back, preventing them from bridging the digital divide. This issue raises many ethical questions over dumping rights, corporate responsibility, safety standards, and the unpopular side efects of the march of progress. In order to truly close the gap of the digital divide, we must recognize e-wast as a major part of the problem. only then can we move foreword.
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