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Where Do Old Cellphones Go to Die?

October 11, 2013

Cellcom Communications

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Where Do Old Cellphones Go to Die?

AMERICANS replace their cellphones every 22 months, junking some 150 million old phones in 2010 alone. Ever wondered what happens to all these old phones? The answer isn’t pretty.

In far-flung, mostly impoverished places like Agbogbloshie, Ghana; Delhi, India; and Guiyu, China, children pile e-waste into giant mountains and burn it so they can extract the metals — copper wires, gold and silver threads — inside, which they sell to recycling merchants for only a few dollars. In India, young boys smash computer batteries with mallets to recover cadmium, toxic flecks of which cover their hands and feet as they work. Women spend their days bent over baths of hot lead, “cooking” circuit boards so they can remove slivers of gold inside. Greenpeace, the Basel Action Network and others have posted YouTube videos of young children…

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