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<nettime> Greenpeace: After Vista, a deluge of E-waste to developing co
Patrice Riemens on Sat, 3 Feb 2007 16:08:40 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Greenpeace: After Vista, a deluge of E-waste to developing countries


Bwo the AsiaSource2 particiapants mailing list 


Manila, 3 February 2007--Vista, Microsoft's newest operating system, could 
trigger a deluge of E-waste in developing countries, Greenpeace warned 
today.

The group argues that with Vista, more companies and individuals may feel 
the need to replace their existing computers sooner as these become 
incompatible with the new operating system.

The result: massive volumes of computer scrap in dirty recycling yards and 
dumpsites in the Philippines, Thailand, and in other Asian countries where 
most of the world's E-waste dumps are located.

"With Vista, Microsoft could effectively hasten the obsolescence of half 
the world's PCs, especially in the absence of fully-functioning global 
take back systems for PCs," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics 
Campaigner Beau Baconguis. "Companies will feel the need to upgrade more 
computers sooner--and when they do, the world is unfortunately not 
prepared for the massive E-waste the upgrades will generate."

"As it is, the current environmental policies of computer companies are 
not enough to provide an effective solution to the growing mountains of 
toxic electronic waste from computer components. Microsoft should have 
factored in these consequences and should have laid out mitigating 
measures to minimize the problem of obsolescence, before they started 
introducing new innovations. Innovation should not translate to more 
pollution," she added.

A study conducted by SoftChoice Corporation stated that 50% of the current 
breed of personal computers are "below Windows Vista's basic system 
requirements" while 94% are not equipped to run on Windows Vista Premium 
edition.

The ability of PCs to be easily upgraded is also important if the massive 
volumes of E-waste is to be prevented. Greenpeace has been engaging 
manufacturers of PCs and mobile phones to phase out toxic substances in 
their products and institute take-back mechanisms for the same products at 
the end of their useful lives. The demand comes with a challenge to PC 
manufacturers to design their products so that these may be easily 
upgraded, disassembled, and recycled properly.

"We maintain that the useful lives of existing electronic and computer 
equipment should be prolonged as much as possible. In the end, this is 
about social responsibility. The idea that software innovation would 
result in more mountains of computer scrap ending up in the dumps of Asia 
and Africa, contaminating the environment, and affecting the health of 
communities, is both offensive and intolerable," said Baconguis.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses 
non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environment problems, 
and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful 
future.

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