Why recycle your cell phone?

Cell Telephones and the Environment

Around 80% of a phone’s environmental impact arises during its production. Every telephone is comprised of hundreds of pieces which, to this day, come from non-renewable resources. Many precious metals can also be found within mobile telephones, including palladium, copper, nickel, silver and even gold.

The poorly-observed rights of children who work in gold mines

The mines that provide these materials do not only have a catastrophic impact upon the environment; they also create enormous social problems. There is mining extraction across many sites within Peru, particularly in the Madre Dios region. This is a region where children’s rights are shamelessly flouted through the occurrence of  prostitution, mining, abandonment, violence and rural exoduses.

This is why Terre des Hommes Suisse and its partner on the ground are working together in order to protect children within this mining area. Find out more about this project.

Our partner estimates that around 20% of the 80 000 gold-extractors in this area are under the age of 18, and that around 1000 young girls there are subjected to prostitution and slavery. Furthermore, illegal mining in this area destroys thousands of hectares of Amazonian rainforest every year and pollute the earth and water with mercury. Indeed, for every gram of gold that is extracted, 3 grams of mercury will be released.

Why does this problem affect us in Switzerland? Because 90% of the gold extracted in Peru is exported to Switzerland where it is then further refined

But this problem does not only exist in Peru. The past war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more people were killed than any other war since the 2nd World War, has become a central factor in this problem. Armed groups control the gold, tantalum and tungsten mines. There is a growing demand for this ore, as it can be used in the fabrication of electric or electronic equipment. The money that armed groups make from this trafficking is most often used to buy more weapons and arms, perpetuating conflict within the country.

In clear terms, what does the manufacturing of mobile phones really represent? Click HERE to find out.