Today, a smartphone. Tomorrow, toxic e-waste.

Let’s get one thing straight: wireless technologies are not green. The tech companies that make wireless products want to pretend they’re green, and they’ve done a pretty successful snow job on the public, but don’t be fooled: wireless technologies are about as dirty as they come–and that’s before we talk about how much energy they use (a lot).

There’s a whole long list of heavy metals and rare earths and precious metals that go into making a smartphone, a tablet, or any other wireless device. Getting these elements out of the ground is generally a polluting, nasty process.

In central Greece, there is a nickel works. It’s the only one in Europe. Generally, nobody wants a nickel factory anywhere near them because they cause incredible pollution. This one sits next to a small seaside village which is built on a picturesque (that is, it was picturesque) 4th century B.C. harbor. This factory has been in operation since the 1960’s. During this time it has piled up well over 30 million tons of toxic slag which sit in great mountains behind the factory. I’ve seen it. The whole area is so barren, it looks like the moon. When the wind bows strongly, dust from the slag heaps blow over a radius of 50 kilometers. As the slag contains mercury, cadmium, cobalt and a variety of other heavy toxic metals, all the surrounding countryside is contaminated to a greater or lesser degree.

Because the nickel works is situated on the Gulf of Evia, the sea is polluted, too. Many times a day, molten slag is dumped into this narrow, deep channel which happen to be some of Greece’s best fishing waters. This slag has so polluted the gulf that many species up and down the coast are dying, and the sea bottom anywhere near the nickel works is dead. It’s an environmental disaster, and Greenpeace has tried to close it down. However, the Greek government won’t do it. It’s allegedly a strategic industry.

They won’t close down the gold mines in northern Greece, either. Have you ever seen a picture of a gold mine? What was a forest becomes another moonscape, bare of the smallest green leaf. To extract gold, you need cyanide in vast quantities. It poisons everything, and it gets in the water table to poison the earth and its creatures downstream. Wireless technologies use a lot of gold, so much that you can extract much more gold from a ton of used SIM cards than from a ton of gold ore. The trouble is, you can’t recycle enough SIM cards to stop them mining new gold.

The thing is, when you mine or refine the precious metals, rare earths and toxic heavy metals that are used to make a smartphone or any other “smart” device, you poison the sites where the mining and refining are done for miles around. All this for disposable items that don’t even last very long; they all have built-in obsolescence. And this creates tons and tons of e-waste, which is NOT a by-product of cyberspace but real junk that clutters the real world. Poisonous to produce, it’s just as poisonous to recycle; the heavy metals get into the water table, and the workers who take the old devices to bits get sick.

Compare all these devices to the old bakelite phones which lasted for decades, and ask yourself: ecologically speaking, why wireless?

For the above products and many other protesting wireless technologies, visit the Anti_Wireless_Shop on Zazzle. Links from the Home Page of this blog.

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