Ethics of Discarded Computers. Discussed Is John Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

ethics of discarded computers. Discussed is John Stuart Mill's philosophy.

Response scenario: I have just worn out my fourth computer. I love a high speed computer, but I feel guilty when I buy a new one. A new computer is my top priority for a purchase, and I begin saving for a new one almost as soon as I have purchased one. I know that many people are just like me. There must be junkyards full of computers. Why is there such a waste with hardware and software in the computer industry. Should I try to get by with less? Two sources are used. APA.

Computer Junkyards

Computer trash is certainly becoming a problem for societies everywhere. Some people try to make use of them by creating art, but that is a miniscule use of the millions of old computers one can see set out for the garbage men or dumped behind computer shops. Society is creating computer junkyards. And it is developing in to a very serious problem for the environment. John Stuart Mill would ask to see proof that this was an environmental issue. Thus, accordingly, there is proof.

These wonderful contraptions we call personal computers are loaded with toxic materials that are as dangerous to dispose of as the messy pile of paint cans and solvents in our garages. Businesses and home users put off getting rid of their old systems, no so much for environmental reasons, but rather they hope there might be a use for them or perhaps a market (Bergstrom 2000). By the year 2004, more than 315 million computers are estimated to become obsolete. As storage space runs out, many companies and homeowners alike are beginning to dump their electronic trash (Bergstrom 2000). This alarms environmentalists.

According to Jeremiah Baumann, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Computers are filled with all sorts of toxic chemicals - everything from a huge amount of lead in the monitors to mercury and cadmium in other parts of the computers themselves"(Bergstrom 2000). The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition estimates that "among other hazardous wastes, 315 million computers would contain 1.2 billion pounds of lead, 2 million pounds of cadmium, 400,000 pounds of mercury and 1.2 million pounds of hexavalent chromium" (Bergstrom 2000). Although recycling firms are starting up across the country, one study contends that they only handled roughly six percent as many computers as manufacturers shipped in 1998, compared to a seventy percent rate for other major appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners and refrigerators (Bergstrom 2000).

Where do all of these recycled computers go? At least 80% of computers, monitors, and printers collected for recycling in the United States end up in China, India and Pakistan. Once transported, workers sift through the waste of hardware bearing the names of Compaq, Apple and IBM (Fackler 2002). Some components are melted to extract precious metals such as gold and platinum. The rest is burned or dumped beside rice paddies and waterways. Mercury, lead, dioxins and other toxic chemicals are released into the air and water (Fackler 2002). The fish disappeared from a local river in Guiyu, China in the early 1990's, shortly after the first truckloads of computer waste arrived. The…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Bergstrom, Bill. "Junked Computers Are Toxic Nightmare."

AP Online. May 7, 2000. http://ask.elibrary.com/getdoc.asp?pubname=AP_Online&puburl=http~C~~S~~S~www.ap.org&querydocid=:bigchalk:U.S.;Lib&dtype=0~0&dinst=0&author=BILL+BERGSTROM%2C+AP+Business+Writer&title=Junked+Computers+Are+Toxic+Nightmare++&date=05%2D07%2D2000&query=discarded+computer+&maxdoc=60&idx=3.(accessed07-22-2002).

Fackler, Martin. "Chinese villages poisoned by American high-tech trash." AP Worldstream. March 01, 2002. http://ask.elibrary.com/getdoc.asp?pubname=AP_Worldstream&puburl=http~C~~S~~S~www.ap.org~S~&querydocid=:bigchalk:U.S.;Lib&dtype=0~0&dinst=0&author=MARTIN+FACKLER%2C+Associated+Press+Writer&title=Chinese+villages+poisoned+by+American+high%2Dtech+trash++&date=03%2D01%2D2002&query=discarded+computer+&maxdoc=60&idx=5 accessed 07-22-2002).

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