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60 Minutes - The Wasteland (November 9, 2008)

 DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Price: $17.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: CBS
  • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 12 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B001KOU582
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,974 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Airdate 11/9/2008   Where do our millions of cast-off computer monitors, cell phones, and other electronic refuse end up? In this investigative report, Scott Pelley finds that some of it is shipped illegally from the United States to China, where toxic "e-waste" is harming both the environment and the desperate people who salvage its valuable components.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look December 3, 2008
If you have heard of the trash in the Pacific ocean gyre and it disgusted you, then you will be equally disenchanted by this short 60 Minutes story on trashed electronics, and where they end up.

The story traces containers of electronics waste - such as printers, computer monitors, cell phones, and keyboards - to what is supposed to be a US based recycling facility. Instead, some containers are diverted from the original route to a port in Hong Kong and eventually a small urban area in the China mainland. There, the circuit boards and computer monitors are manually "recycled".

If the footage is to be considered as real evidence, it shows people without any protective gear or any safety equipment cooking circuit boards over an open fire and pouring the solder into a pan. There are men pulling chips off boards with pliers over an open fire. The reporter and crew are eventually forced to leave by those who appear to be owners of the dump. A translator informs the crew that if they don't leave, the men will beat them up.

The concern is twofold. First, these pieces of electronics are fairly inert when intact, but with the application of heat, gases and metals are released from the electronic components. Either airborne or suspended in water, lead, mercury, and chromates from circuit board components threaten the air quality and the water table. The burning of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) releases chlorine gas, among other things, but the long term worry is how none of this byproduct waste is controlled. The second concern is that these pieces of electronics were never intended to go offshore, but they were loaded onto a ship anyway due to what is expected to be illegal activity.
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