Welcome to the e-wasteland

Susannah Breslin is a guestblogger on Boing Boing. She is a freelance journalist who blogs at Reverse Cowgirl and is at work on a novel set in the adult movie industry.


London-based photographer Sophie Gerrard has created a photo series called "E-wasteland," a graphic look at the toxic effects of electronic waste on India's land and its people.

Every year, Gerrard writes, 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste are generated worldwide.

India has become one of the world's largest dumping grounds for e-waste. E-waste is highly toxic. It contains lead, cadmium, mercury, tin, gold, copper, PVC and brominated, chlorinated and phosphorus based flame retardants. Many of these heavy metals and contaminants are extremely harmful to humans as well as to animals and plants.

The Basel Convention, of which the UK and India are signatories, bans the transportation of hazardous or toxic waste from the developed world to developing countries.

This illegal toxic trade is, therefore, in direct violation.

E-wasteland: The growing problem of e-waste in India (via riley dog)


  1. “Every year, Gerrard writes, 20 to 50 million of electronic waste is generated worldwide.”

    I am assuming you meant to add a measure of weight. Tons or tonnes?

  2. This year it’s in BB Gadgets, next year it’s in India or China. Isn’t technology fab?

  3. “I am assuming you meant to add a measure of weight. Tons or tonnes?”

    Maybe it’s grams and they’re just being drama queens about it.

  4. Looking at that picture makes me feel like a kid looking at a pile of sand… I just really really want to climb it and root around for bits

  5. You know I think we need to redefine what a developing country is. When they start providing us with tech support, they have crossed over from developing to developed. Developed enough to be sucked into the wasteland of multinational corporations and greed.

  6. Those pics looked like my bedroom/utility room/basement and garage looked like a few years back,when I used to lovingly collect old PCs and monitors from local small companies.
    Then I would build working PCs from the bits and give/sell them.
    Never got round to all that acid cooking of components though.
    Poor people having to rely on local water in those areas in the pics.
    Globalisation in action.

  7. Interesting. My FMIL works at the environmental/forestry ministry of the Indian government. Finally I have some conversation fodder for next time I see her.

  8. fifty years from now art students will use pictures like this in collages about planned obsolescence. Other ‘artists’ may have learned how to knap a monitor screen into a dagger blade to rob the then artists of their earnings from said collages.
    Either way we’ll probably be dead already from mercury and cadmium poisoning. That’s what I get from this article.

  9. @5 Well done, Sir. That’s precisely why I don’t give much of a hoot about new technology. Also, incidentally, why I view a truckload of new gadgets the same way I view a truckload of as-yet-unused-diapers.

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