Archive for the ‘globalization’ Category

blame it on the internets

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

CITES argues the the Internet has led to huge destruction in habitat and loss of rare species. Namely, the Internet has allowed for a revolution in the way that wildlife is (illegally) traded, to the detriment of species.

Trade on the Web poses “one of the biggest challenges facing CITES,” said Paul Todd, a campaign manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

“The Internet is becoming the dominant factor overall in the global trade in protected species,” he said. “There will come a time when country to country trade of large shipments between big buyers and big sellers in different countries is a thing of the past.”

Of course, this ignores the huge benefits that a global medium has in communicating environmental problems and allowing for social mobilization. We might not even know about the problems facing the Kaiser’s spotted newt were it not for the Internet. A small community in the developing may not be able to work together with other impacted communities or gain support from international non-governmental organizations were it not for the Internet. Still it points to the two-edged sword of the new media and the fact that media are not simply transparent communication tools.

“The Biggest Drawing in The World”

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Thanks, MM, Intro to GIS

Artists love to innovate and create new mediums with new technology. GPS has provided another opportunity. GPS has enabled artists to discover a new canvas, the Earth. The technology has inspired artists to create the catch phrase: “The GPS is my brush and the world is my canvas.” One individual, Erik Nordenankar, determined to create the largest drawing in the world for his graduation project, in Advertising and Graphic Design at Beckmans College of Design. The artist created a GPS unit, which he placed inside a durable case. He then plotted an extremely detailed navigational course that would trace the picture with connected GPS points, taken at periodic intervals. Erik arranged to have his GPS case shipped around the world by DHL on a detailed journey that would take 55 days.

The resulting image would be comprised of one giant line that was 110 664km long and pass through 6 continents and 62 countries. The canvas would be 40,076,592M by 4,009,153M to produce the largest drawing the world has ever seen. The drawing would be of Erik’s face. This new form of art is known as “Positional Art” and proposed an interesting idea: the globalization of art.

Unfortunately (and unbeknown to many people) Erik’s GPS unit was never shipped around the world because the fees needed to ship his package exceeded his $3,370 USD budget. In addition there were, um, several flaws in his process. Perhaps the most major flaw would be the case he constructed to transmit the GPS signal. The GPS device would be protected in a heavy-duty case, but the problem was that it would block the GPS signal and render the equipment useless if the case was closed (which was for the duration of the journey). As Erik suggests, there is more that the artist needs to learn in to technologically participate in the new artistic field of GPS.

Many considered this project a failure and a hoax because the drawing was never completed. Erik addresses this issue with a disclaimer that his project is fictional. People fail to realize that Erik was not necessarily trying to make the biggest drawing in the world but to create an advertisement. After all, Erik’s project was for his degree in advertising and graphic design. Also DHL has seen a huge increase in press as a result of this project, which makes Erik’s work a big success. In this respect critics should open up their minds to great idea, whether it be acted on or not.

To see images of the drawing, the case Erik constructed to hold the GPS unit, and the detailed navigation instructions, visit Erik’s website. Erik also created a YouTube video on the making of the drawing:

Freaky Friday, Freaky problem

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Fourth in line to comment Dr Ricciardi’s presentation and still something to say. Perhaps this is a sign of the excellence of the presentation. His talks was energetic, passionate and fledged with he desire to inform his audience about one of the global problem of our modern world : Global swarming. He used metaphore and convincing and chocking vocabulary (some of my collegues already pointed it out) to deliever his message 

As the name implies, global swarming if affecting the entire planet. Dr Ricciardi made it quite clear the the once know boundaries were gone with the globalisation and the expension of transportation. Animals and plants are now found outside their resisding area. So far, no problem, since it happens naturally. Where the problem arise is in the number of invasion. In Hawaï for exemple, the ratio invasion\year went up a million times if you compare the pre-human ratio to the actual ratio.

Dr Ricciardi has also shown that there are many relation beetween species. Those relations are fragile and the introduction of a new specie may affect the entire ecosystem. For exemple, the waterfowl of the grand lake (i think it was Erie, sombody correct me if i’m wrong) are now dying of botulism. This is cause by an anaerobic bacteria, Clotridium botulism. Usually, there were no link beetween the to specie. But the introduction of a filtrating specie change it all. The bateria is now being filtrated by Zebra mussel, which in return are eaten by the Round gaby. Eventually, the waterfowl feed on Round gaby and are infected with the disease. Such an interaction did not exist in the past. N.B.: Botulism occurs in human as well. A source can be non-sterilised (or poorly sterilise) food caning.

As for economical consideration, Dr Ricciardi pointed out that the assessment were only partial and only on a regional level base. His solution implied better founding for the Canadien food inspection agency which he describe has the line of defence against invading species. But, the fact remains that the interaction between the species are very complexe thus hard to predict and assess. It will be a reel challenge to contain the invasive specie from doing harm to the native environnement especially if we can’t predict were they will be the most destructive.

Notes from the Where 2.0 conference

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

I’m currently at Where 2.0 2008, where neogeographer entrepreneurs meet We 2.0 and I’ll post interesting talks, links as they come up.

Jack Dangermond of ESRI mentioned a cool application, which is a joint venture between The Nature Conservancy and U Washington that shows impacts on habitats and species over time as temperature increases and precipitation patterns change.

While I look for the site, take a look at Big Ideas in Conservation: Harnessing IT.

grim visions

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Dire future from Britain’s Ministry of Defense, tasked with anticipating the challenge to its armed forces:

Information chips implanted in the brain. Electromagnetic pulse weapons. The middle classes becoming revolutionary, taking on the role of Marx’s proletariat. The population of countries in the Middle East increasing by 132%, while Europe’s drops as fertility falls. “Flashmobs” – groups rapidly mobilised by criminal gangs or terrorists groups.

Among the environmental problems they cite are water scarcity and climate change. All in all, it’s not too cheery.

In a Recent Turn of Events, Clean Energy Promises By Bush in State of the Union Address

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

In his state of the union address on tuesday evening, President George W. Bush emphasized the need to reduce America’s reliance on oil. Unlike his predecessors Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, both of whom made similar appeals, Bush didnt merely stress the need to reduce reliance on foreign oil, he stressed the need to reduce oil use period. In his own words, he told Americans they need to “move beyond a petroleum-based economy”. He is aiming for a 75% reduction in oil imports from the Middle East by 2025, which now account for about 17% of the oil consumed in the U.S.. Part of this plan involves an increase in financing for clean energy technology by 22%. His new budget proposal for October 2006 involves $289 million spent on hydrogen technology, as opposed to $53 million this year, $44 million for wind, up from $5 million this year, and $150 million for ethanol from cellulose, up from $59 million this year. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 6% of U.S. energy consumption. A notable omission from the speech was that the President made no mention of increasing fuel efficiency standards for cars.

Coltan, Gorillas and Cell Phones

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

Coltan, Gorillas and Cell Phones is the title of a report in Cellular News.

Coltan stands for columbite-tantalite, which is a metallic ore of niobium and tantalum. It resembles a crumbly white powder when the material is extracted. Eighty percent of the coltan in the world is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Refined coltan is important because it can store an electrical charge. The storage of minute quantities of electricity is essential to the operation of circuit boards, on which microchips sit. This includes the circuit boards in cell phones. As our thirst for cell phones grows, so does the need for coltan. According to a Uganda Gold Mining Ltd–a Canadian company, coltan is predicted to grow at a rate of 14 percent per year.

The tragedy in the Congo is that wars are fought and lives are lost in the struggle to control access to these minerals. Coltan sells at about $100US. A Congolese worker can earn 20 times as much mining coltan as doing other work. At one point the value of coltan peaked at $600US a kilogram. So it’s not surprising that wars might be fought and even spread to neighbouring countries such as Rwanda (which has no coltan of its own but, surprisingly, exports it).

But there’s an added environmental tragedy in the story of coltan.

The main area where Coltan is mined, also contains the [World Heritage Site] Kahuzi Biega National Park, home of the Mountain Gorilla. In Kahuzi Biega National Park the gorilla population has been cut nearly in half, from 258 to 130 as the ground is cleared to make mining easier. Not only has this reduced the available food for the Gorillas, the poverty caused by the displacement of the local populations by the miners has lead to Gorillas being killed and their meat being sold as “bush meat” to the miners and rebel armies that control the area. Within the Dem. Rep. of Congo as a whole, the U.N. Environment Program has reported that the number of eastern lowland gorillas in eight Dem. Rep. of Congo national parks has declined by 90% over the past 5 years, and only 3,000 now remain.

The gorillas are not inexorably doomed just because we must have cell phones.

Due to the damage caused to the Gorilla population and their natural habitat, companies that use Coltan are now starting to demand that their Coltan only comes from legitimately mined sources and is not a byproduct of the war. American-based Kemet, the world’s largest maker of tantalum capacitors, has asked its suppliers to certify that their coltan ore does not come from Dem. Rep. of Congo or from neighbouring countries. Such moves could lead to “Gorilla Safe” cellphones being marketed, much in the same way that Tuna meat is now sold as “Dolphin Safe”.

The question is, are we as consumers willing to demand “Gorilla Safe” certification for our cell phones? Are we willing to pay more for that product or eschew newer cooler models if those models fail to comply with the certification? We would have to be extremely vigilant because ensuring “Gorilla free” capacitors would demand that consumers take some role in monitoring each part of the manufacturing chain to prevent “bad” coltan from creeping in.

Other sources: BBC
United Nations
Born Free Foundation

MIT to develop $100 laptops

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

Members of MIT’s Media Lab have prototyped a $100 computer. The computer comes equipped with a color lcd screen, 500 MHz processor, and 1 gigabyte of memory (on flash memory, no less). It also has Wi-Fi capacity. To further reduce costs, the computer runs Linux. The goal in creating a $100 computer is to provide every single child in the world, especially in the poorest countries, a laptop computer.

To render the computer durable for poorer regions of the world, it will be enclosed in a tight rubber casing so it can be made water- and dust-resistant. One interesting feature is a hand crank that will allow children in areas lacking reliable energy to generate power.

The initial plans are to produce 150 million computers for poor children in the world. Negroponte, head of MIT’s Media Lab boasts that “these humble $100 notebooks would surpass the world’s existing annual production of laptops”. This is great news, providing laptops to children as a way to connect them to the advantages that we almost take for granted in the developed world. But before we uncritically salute this development, has anyone considered the environmental impacts of all of these new computers? At present, some 50 million computers are made obsolete every single year. That’s 50 million computers that need to be disposed of, which is millions of kilograms of cadmium, lead and mercury as well as flame retardants and other organics that are carcinogenic. Has anyone thought of that?

More information can be found at MIT’s Media Lab

Eight ways to save the world

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

The World Summit meeting recently concluded at the United Nations. Sadly, the leaders from the 191 countries came nowhere close on their original promise to deliver on the eight Millenium Development Goals by 2015.

A series of articles in the Guardian Newspaper reminds us (a) how easily achievable the Millenium Development Goals actually are, and (b) how inextricably joined are environmental protection and poverty alleviation. Eight ways to save the world is also a photography exhibit in London, which illustrates the development goals (the main page of the Guardian series contains examples of the photos). Below are the eight goals, linked to their associated Guardian articles.

  1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. To give all children a primary school education
  3. To promote gender equality and empower women
  4. To reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
  5. To improve maternal health
  6. To combat HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases
  7. To ensure environmental sustainability
  8. To develop a global partnership.

Damn Yankees

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

The scenario has risen again: the science and policy surrounding energy policy have had a hard time coming through. And so, the same question as before comes hard on its heels: a blend of scientists and policy makers are being listened to… but which ones? And why?

The long-standing logic of switching to zero-emission energy sources was written in a bill signed by President Bush (CNN) which included new nuclear power plants, and encouraged domestic coal, oil and natural gas production (ENS). (See NYTimes for good measure.)

Now, it’s a matter of patriotism.

The Yankee Ingenuity of yore was what inspired drawings of Uncle Sam and was fueled by a booming USA. Suffice it to say, this sentiment is still strong in the US, but with the last 20 years of technology specialization by foreign countries, there has been less and less dominance. Of course, dependency on foreign oil fits in here as well. But, so does keeping jobs domestic, and keeping jobs with longevity and security.

Thus, the mission of the Apollo Alliance has been one of a blend of environment and labour. A quick glance through their material (and having heard them speak at last summer’s Democratic National Convention and an energy conference) invokes patriotic pride. This is to say that it communicates through the right channel.

If coal miners are most concerned with their job security, then clean-burning coal turned into a competitive industry option will attract more attention for that reason, and less directly for reasons of environmental cleanliness. It’s a sustainable job either way, and both sides are excited for it. So too with wind and solar power gaining grants and therefore proposals from engineers and construction.

This is mimicked in the formation of the Nova Scotia Environment and Labour. Interestingly, it is next to impossible to navigate to anything mentioning energy science or policy, or greenhouse gas emissions. But the grouping of bodies is still wise for getting things done.

Back to the bill. There were criticism that came from all over the scope… The top Democrat on the Energy Committee, Sen. Jeff Bingham, praised the passage of the bill but said more must be done to tap the potential of renewable energy, address global warming and use less oil from overseas. Rep. Edward J. Markey said much of the same, highlighting the lack of boosts for renewables over fossil fuels, and called the bill “a historic failure.”

So for all the bill promised vis-à-vis a Stronger America, there was no help for tax incentives for renewable energy resources, a renewable electricity standard, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, reducing global warming, and installing a federal ban on MTBE. Anna Aurilio of U.S. PIRG doubted that the dependency and linkages to dirty sources and foreign sources of energy would be weakened by the bill.

With the Apollo Alliance, it is impossible to say whether or not there has been a mis-step. The Death of Environmentalism paper (see some background here) heralds the Alliance as a breakthrough of the ilk desperately needed to keep environmentalism from slipping into the mechanisms of science and society it is trying to re-define. With such attention to The Markets as the solution, and a host of proponents springing up to do combat with Market Tools, it is expected that such a group would gain so much applause and perform so well… they boast and attractive track record. TIME magazine runs articles like this one all the time, as does Newsweek and cohorts.

One hopes that the sentiment for Americana doesn’t blind people (like me a week or two ago) to fall in step with the Yankee Ingenuity spirit and disregard the poor oversights that bills like this one offer in spades.

“Don’t be Evil” Corporate Culture

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

From the Globe and Mail, in a bit of Canadian understatement:

Google Inc., Silicon Valley’s latest garage-to-riches story, is metamorphosing before our collective eyes into the single most important company on the planet, if it hasn’t claimed that title already.

But what strikes me—and this is from the slashdot entry that alerted me to the Globe and Mail article–is the corporate ethos of Google:

“If Sergey and Larry stick to their corporate mantra — Don’t be evil — and are able to stem degeneration into the typically corrupt corporate ethos, who knows, they may just succeed in assuming the fair and honourable dominion over the world’s information they so naively set out to achieve eight years ago in their garage.””

Is there something inherently good about Internet companies because they increase the accessibility of information? Will the success of Google over its new rival, Microsoft, be the success of good corporate culture over presumably evil corporate culture?

where’s the line?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

As I think I have mentioned, I am helping to organize a youth conference on climate change. We have a fabulous website up and running and like all websites is available to Internet users in most parts of the world. While the conference is geared towards Canadian youth, we have had inquiries from environmentally minded youth in Kenya and Vietnam. In both cases the youth are involved in environmental issues in their home and country and are interested in coming to the conference in order to gain insight and an enhanced perspective through collaborating with others from another country.

There is no doubt that this is yet another example of globalization – the internet has allowed people from various countries to come together and communicate – possibly even meet face to face. Globalization is generally considered to be a “bad thing”… resulting in culture disintegration and corporate takeover. But is it necessarily a bad thing? In this instance, is it bad because two international youth want to come to a conference in Canada and then take what they learned back to their home countries and improve their inspiration for the projects they are working on?

This is only one case of Internet-mediated communication enabling an entirely unprecedented communication regime with participants from all around the world. This is globalization. Maybe with a little direction pointing, we can turn this into a really good thing… not something that ruins culture but enhances understanding and appreciation of the varying cultures of our world; or maybe something that allows for positive cooperation and collaboration on environmetal projects… The possibilities are endless. We just have to get rid of that ignorance!

technology for cheap

Monday, April 4th, 2005

Check our the $100 laptops MIT labs are going to mass produce for the developing world. Is this a good idea? Already in the first world, we’re thinking about slapping on technology tax, to account for environmental “costs”, but technology already depreciates quickly over time. It would help bridge the digital divide, and would make it more equitable, but this also means more waste…and what about destroying the essence of cultures, with technology that will proliferate across nations, or is it something lost, something gained? Will this also be decreasing our diversity? I still think there should be something said about the amount of waste this will generate…the article doesn’t mention anything about whether the technology is less hazardous, and suppose first world countries started offering laptops at $100 a piece? Consumption would increase, no doubt…

GM and Globalisation

Monday, March 21st, 2005

There has been concern to monitor GM foods, and research has been conducted, but it is our curiousity that keeps people from disregarding the bans. We saw what happend to Dolly, the cloned sheep, with premature ageing. Now cloned human embryos can also go through that process. In the UK there is a briefing from genewatch that highlights new GM plants and crops worldwide. GM foods are widely adopted in North America, but for the rest of the world, there is continued controversy over using them. In Hawaii, there has been a GM papaya resistant to viral disease grown extensively since 1998. Thailand is now trying hard to remove their GM papaya and there are no longer exports to Europe for fear of spreading contamination. China is considering to grow GM rice. Rice takes up one quarter of the agricultural land, so if any disaster were to happen, it would be on a large scale. There is a lot of concern, that with the rise of globalisation, there will be more disruption of native, natural ecosystems, as new plants are introduced. GM foods can provide protection from insects and disease, they can offer longer shelf life (apparently pringles and kraftdinner are GM, as well as a whole list of others). But they can also create problems for the environment, as the ecosystem is displaced, and the GM crop may take over a native species which may eventually become extinct. If there is going to be GM of plants and crops, I think it should be done indoors, in greenhouses, with tightly secured walls, so that we don’t disrupt the natural landscapes. We only have one world…

Digital Cities

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

Now that I think about it, London Ontario could be considered a digital city. I worked there over the summer, and they have an online map, where you can look at different developments in the city. For instance, you can find out where the closest library is, if there are bus routes near your house, you can look at flood plains and vegetation, location of schools, etc. They also have an aerial photo option, so I had the opportunity to zoom in and see my house from above. Click on City Map in order to use these features. When people phoned the city for help, often planners would direct them to the online maps. I think the maps and the information is useful for citizens, that is, if they have access to a computer. Or if developers come into the department, the planners show them right there, what is taking place in their neighbourhood, etc. I think it helps give cities a place, in the global world, a global identity. For instance, there’s a paper on Kyoto that highlights the potential of the digital city, with access to business, transport, universities, local authorities, volunteer groups, and more, all linking people and places worldwide. There is a lot of work involved to create a digital city, with different layers having to come together.

Which country ranks highest in ICT?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Last year it was the US, but this year, the US went down to 5th place, any ideas why? I’m not quite sure. Canada always seems to compare itself to the US in terms of technology, but why do we do that? Let’s start looking at what other countries are doing too. Click here to see the country rankings. They don’t mention how the study was carried out, or their methodology. I think it was done by the World Economic Forum. Actually, I think you have to buy it the report online 🙁 What’s interesting to note, though, is that the authors confirm a trend in narrowing the digital divide between developed and developing countries…

Economics of climate change

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

Big feature in the Globe yesterday on the economic impacts of climate change. Some major institutional investors such as pension plans and retirement funds are asking the companies they invest in tough questions about their ‘risk exposure’ to Kyoto. They want to know how much the companies will have to spend in the future to reduce emissions, how well they are positioned to deal with shifts to alternative energy sources, and what the economic consequences will be to their investments. I think it’s quite promising to see the investment and business community ratcheting up their discource on Kyoto; it almost makes it seem like they realize it’s something they’ll have to deal with whether they like it or not.

There’s a sidebar about green investing. I know most students don’t have much money to invest but it’s still interesting to read about some of the supposedly socially/environmentally responsible investments out there.


Friday, February 11th, 2005

There’s a lot being written about Jared Diamond’s new book Collapse (most recently the NYTimes). Mr. Diamond is of course the author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, in which he argues that societies rose or fell dependent on their ability to cope with warfare (both the impacts of and tools for), disease and industrial development. Guns, Germs, and Steel won the Pulitzer Prize, the first Pulitzer, I believe won by a geographer.

In his new book, Diamond argues that the success of cultures/colonies can be attributed to a culture’s willingness to face the limits of its local environment (and increasingly the global environment). Now I am no big fan of structuralist and determinist arguments, that civilization hinges on what it’s been dealt, such as an icy climate or on what it’s dealt out, such as a depleted rainforest, but I am obviously sympathetic to the cause.

What struck me was a little comment in an interview he did in Salon Magazine

Interviewer: Perhaps one difference between ourselves and the Inuit is that we can rely more on technology to buffer the effects of pollution. Many people these days, for instance, use Brita filters. To what extent can we and should we count on technology to protect us?

Diamond: That’s a really key question, and one that I’ve discussed with some of the most thoughtful people in the business and financial worlds. One was Bill Gates. Bill Gates is a very thoughtful person. I was really impressed by him. Nevertheless, he said — in a diffident, self-deprecating way — “Well, I think technology will solve our environmental problems, and so I’m not so concerned about them as I am other things.” But I think that he’s wrong — I know that he’s wrong.

Let me give you an example. I was born in 1937 so I remember the revolution in refrigerators that happened in my childhood, the introduction of Freon and CFCs [chlorofluorocarbons]. The refrigerator gases that were used in my childhood were things like ammonia. Of course, if they leaked they were toxic, and therefore it was hailed as a breakthrough when these supposedly nontoxic gases, the CFCs, were introduced. They were tested and under earth conditions they appeared to be perfectly benign. What people couldn’t predict was that under stratospheric conditions CFCs get broken down into substances that destroy the ozone layer, and it took 20 years to get that well established. And I see that as a metaphor for why technology alone won’t solve our problems, namely that there are lots of technologies out there and they have unexpected side effects.

So Bill Gates figures we’ll invent and compute our way out of environmental degradation and therefore collapse. We in the West have yet to reap the unintended consequence of electronics production and waste. However, the developing world keenly feels the effects of, for example, coltan in the Congo , computer waste in China). How do we compute our way out of that? Replace the coltan with something that’s potentially as destructive? Enforce green computing initiatives but ignore the damage that’s already been done to public health? Sometimes I think we’re in the midst of a collapse but don’t know it yet.

Ticking time bomb, part 2

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Madhav Badami, a professor in Urban Planning and the School of Environment at McGill, points us to an academic article on the global hazards of e-waste:

Iles, Alastair. 2004. Mapping Environmental Justice in Technology Flows: Computer Waste Impacts in Asia. Global Environmental Politics 4(4): 76 – 107 .

In the 21st century, technology and material flows constitute an ever-growing set of global environmental change. In particular, electronic wastes are emerging as a major transnational problem. Industrial nations are shipping millions of obsolete computers to Asia yearly; Asian countries are emerging as generators of e-waste in their own right. This article argues that an environmental justice approach can help illuminate the impacts of technology and material flows. To do so, however, environmental justice definitions and methodologies need to account for how and why such flows occur. Using the case of computers, the article analyses some factors shaping the e-waste recycling chain, shows how e-waste risks depend on design and manufacturing chains, and evaluates inequalities in the ecological and health impacts of e-wastes across Asia. It proposes a definition of environmental justice as obviating the production of risk, using a framework that brings together the global production system, development models, and regulatory action.

It’s an interesting read because environmental justice is rarely conceived of as an international phenomenom. And, with the exception of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, environmental justice rarely considers hi-tech.

Ticking time bomb in the land of outsourcing

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Appears that we do more than export jobs to India, we also outsource our e-waste!

Bangalore faces e-waste hazards

“E-waste is like slow poison. After 50 years what will happen to our environment?” asks the Pollution Board chairman, S Bhoomanand Manay, calling for a concerted effort by both government and private agencies to tackle the menace.

“Most of the industry, especially the IT companies, are vaguely aware of the problems of e-waste,” says Mr Manay.

In another irony of outsourcing IT, read this older article from the BBC: India’s silicon valley faces IT exodus. In it the author reports that multinational IT businesses are threatening Bangalore’s municipal government with a pullout if it doesn’t “improve the roads, manage unruly traffic, improve power supply and expedite building of flyovers, hotels and an international airport near the city limits”. Of course, the very economic structure that attracts businesses to this area doesn’t provide sufficient taxes to improve the municipal infrastructure.