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Waste not, want not? Not in world of computers
Latest Updated by 2006-09-27 10:44:00
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The authorities in Guangdong Province and Guangzhou's Haizhu District have discovered dozens of workshops illegally dismantling and processing electronic waste in the district.

The 'e-waste' seized, said to be harmful to health, was mainly things like hard discs, CD-Roms and the main circuit boards inside the machines.

Five trucks, which can each carry eight tons, have been employed to take away the waste.

Cao Jianxin, editor of an IT portal in Guangzhou, said the huge market for second-hand IT products, and therefore the huge profits, were key reasons for the rampancy of the illegal e-waste dismantling and processing businesses.

Cao said several second-hand IT markets in Pearl River Delta cities sell 'new' computers made from old parts and their businesses have been booming.

"About 800 yuan (US$100) for a laptop; 600 yuan (US$75) for a desktop; 1,000 yuan (US$125) for a Xerox machine; isn't that tempting?" Cao said.

A second-hand IT market in the city of Dongguan even wholesales the e-waste and wholesalers there offer a one-year quality warranty, according to the editor.

Zhong Zhenqi, an official with the Guangdong Provincial Environmental Protection Administration, said a computer contains over 700 raw chemical materials. More than half can harm people's health.

"Burning computer peripherals will cause toxic air and air pollution, and the chemicals are harmful to water, plants, microbes, and humans too," Zhong said.

According to Zhong, as the provincial environmental protection administration has been gearing up efforts to improve the environment in the province, it will focus more on pollution caused by e-waste dismantling and processing.

The State has clear regulations banning the importing of e-waste and strict regulations on the management of e-waste, added Zhong.

Lin Yang is deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Industrial and Commercial Administration's economic supervision team, which led the clampdown. He said it marked one of the biggest cases in the province in the past few years.

He added: "E-waste is illegally smuggled into the province. We welcome tips and will award those who report information to us."

Nanhai District in the city of Foshan in Guangdong used to be a gathering place for e-waste. But all warehouses for e-waste imports were closed down a couple of years ago for reasons including environmental pollution and the State's policy of banning e-waste imports.

Lin said they would also keep an eye on second-hand IT markets across the province as many workshops have assembled e-waste into second-hand computers bound for Guangdong and elsewhere in the country.

He said the provincial industrial and commercial administration would join forces with the province's customs office, the police, and the environment watchdog to launch further campaigns against e-waste.

Editor: Yan

By: Zhan Lisheng Source: China Daily Website
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