Digital Dumping Grounds

The shadowy market of the global e-waste trade is growing out of control. This is of concern to all of us, for obvious and not so obvious environmental, health and economic reasons. No matter how developed our nation may be, we are complicit in where our old computers, cell phones and printer cartridges go to die and how they are returned to us as new products. 

This short journalistic documentary is reported by Peter Klein, former senior producer of Witness – that seminal journalistic documentary program which asked videojournalists to spend months in the field to cover stories.  I watched this doc after reading this cbc.ca feature that was written about it. The article focuses on a hard drive some of Klein’s graduate students bought in Ghana that contained un-deleted information about U.S. defence contracts.

But the documentary also tells a much larger story – that of hazardous work being done by scavengers in developing nations, of a hopeful Indian entrepreneur who has developed a high-tech salvaging plant, and of underground networks of bandits who aim to steal your personal information and drain your bank account.

Watch this short doc on the Frontline/World website here.

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