Toxic E-waste Floods Poor Countries


Our Thursday green news bring you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:sustainable student housing, green architecture

  • Toxic e-waste floods poor countries: According to the United Nations, every year millions of mobile phones, laptops, digital toys, cameras and other electronic devices end up dumped illegally in developing countries. The overall volume of electronic waste is expected to increase by about one third globally in the next four years, equaling to eight of the great Egyptian pyramids, according to the UN’s Step initiative. The danger lies in toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium or arsenic that are part of most electronic products. Once these dangerous substances end up in landfills, they contaminate water, soil as well as air. Additionally, many people who are dismantling them, often work in very primitive conditions without proper protection from exposure to toxins and end up seriously ill. For example, an old-style computer monitor (CRT) can contain up to  three kilograms of lead.
  • Swedish architects design stylish, sustainable and affordable housing for students: A new project by Swedish design company Tengbom Architects features housing for students that is affordable, sustainable and intelligent-both in terms of design and material choice. The design is a result of collaboration with students at the University of Lund, wood manufacturer Martinsons and real estate company AF Bostäder. Although the unit has only ten square meters, it contains everything students need. While the prototype is currently exhibited in Virserum Art Museum, twenty two units will be constructed in 2014 and ready for students to live in.
  • New bike will purify the air while you ride: A group of Thai designers and engineers from Lightfog Creative & Design Company has been developing a new bicycle on a principle of photosynthesis. The concept considers that bike’s aluminum frame would generate oxygen through a reaction between water and electric power from a lithium-ion battery. According to Silawat Virakul, one of the designers and creative director: “We want to design products which can reduce the air pollution in the city of Bangkok. So we decided to design a bike because we thought that bicycles are environmentally friendly vehicles for transportation. Riding a bicycle can reduce traffic jam[s] in a city. Moreover, we wanted to add more value to a bicycle by adding its ability to reduce the pollution.”green design eco-architecture
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