For this science unit we looked at elements and compounds. Our project was to identify the different elements and compounds that are used in the everyday electronics that we use in YIS.
I primarily looked at the computers that we use in YIS that come from YIS. These products are usually around 1000 USD but can cost more. The elements and compounds that are used in the computers are tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold, platinum, aluminum, copper, silver, plastic, glass. These materials are used to make batteries that last longer, vibration units, screen, and a lot of the more rare minerals are used to make things in the circuitry for example, solder which has a low melting point and can conduct electricity so this is used glue parts together and to conduct electricity at the same time. Another commonly used element in our daily electronic is aluminum as Apple uses these to create the body of the electronics.
These materials are used by many other companies to create similar products and some of the minerals come from places like the Congo where armed groups of people force people that live there to mine for these minerals. This can happen because companies exist to make profit and to make more profit they can get materials from cheaper sources, this can lead to companies buying their materials from these mines. This would also happen is there is a high demand for these products, because it would force the companies to buy more materials. To make the scene worse some of these mines forces children to mine in them. This means that the kids that are forced to work in the mines are not getting educated but they don’t receive anything for doing so. These are often shipped to Asia where they are smelted and sent to companies to create their products. You would think that the government has done something against this but the truth is that government is usually corrupt in these places and they only look forward to making money, because of this not only does the government get paid to close his eyes but the government protects these groups.
Although there is no way we can shut down the sources of these “unclean” materials, we can still take actions that can stop companies from using them which would lead to these sources making profit. We could start recycling the computers which would reduce the amount f materials that companies have to buy, but there is a problem. Some companies already does recycling but they send it to under developed countries where they have people recycling these computers for minimal wage and some of the elements/compounds are extremely toxic and can harm the people working. Although recycling doesn’t work we could instead simply raise awareness of these mines that exist and the companies that use it so that people would stop buying from the companies that use “unclean” materials. This would lead to the companies to changing their sources if they find out that their materials come from these mines, intact this has already been done several times. This would also not be too hard for people to do as many companies have become more aware of their sources and have changed them as shown in graph 1 and graph 2.
(Grey is the amount of minerals used, Blue is the amount of minerals that came from legitimate sources.)
This is thanks to other people raising awareness, this includes Apple which is one of the most known company that produces these products. I think that this could be done easily by writing about it on the YIS website as it is view a decent amount by other people.
- Apple. “Apple.” Apple. Apple Inc, 2016. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <http://www.apple.com/>.
- Hildreth Enterprise. “MacBook Air Prices & Sales.” MacBook Air Prices at MacPrices, Updated Daily. Hildreth Enterprise, 24 Nov. 2016. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <http://www.macprices.net/macbookair.shtml>.
- BBC. “DR Congo Minerals: Most Mines ‘conflict Free’ since US Law.” BBC News. BBC, 10 June 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27782829>.
- 911Metallurgist. “Minning & IPhone Recycling.” 911 Metal Lurgist. 911Metallurgist, 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <https://www.911metallurgist.com/mining-iphones/>.
- ENOUGHproject. “Conflict Minerals 101.” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Nov. 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF-sJgcoY20&feature=youtu.be>.
- Enough Campain. “RAISE Hope for Congo.” Conflict Minerals Company Rankings | RAISE Hope for Congo. Enough Campain, 2012. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/content/conflict-minerals-company-rankings-0>.
- PBS. “Conflict Minerals from the Congo to Your Cellphone.” PBS. PBS, 5 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment-july-dec13-bleasdale_10-05/>.
- @earth911. “How to Recycle Computers.” Earth911.com. Earth911, 2016. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <http://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-computers/>.
- GreenpeaceVideo. “Electronic Waste in Ghana.” YouTube. YouTube, 04 Aug. 2008. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr1zQrXM_7s>.
- Apple Inc. Place of Publication Not Identified: Book On Demand, 2013. EXCHANGE COMMISSION. Apple Inc, 2016. Web. 24 Nov. 2016. <https://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/pdf/Conflict_Minerals_Report_2016.pdf>.