The Garbage Mines Of Ghana
In the 1998 movie Soldier, Kurt Russell is unceremoniously dropped with the rest of the garbage on a planet reserved for use as a dump. Huge spacecraft deposit vast quantities of junk on regular runs.
(Space disposal units from Soldier )
Russell ultimately joins forces with the people who are unlucky enough to be forced to make a living out of the material cast off by others.
On our planet, we don't send high-tech garbage to other worlds. We pick parts of our own planet, and send it there. Places like the Agbogbloshie canal, just west of downtown Accra, the capital of Ghana.
(The Agbogbloshie canal)
...the young men who work the dump pull and recycle the metals, particularly copper, out of old electronics. [M]ost of them are from northern Ghana, and form something of "an outcast class by themselves." They break down electronics with hammers and hands, mostly to pull out the metals inside of them, which they sell to local businesses.
You have to admire the resilience of these kids, who've come up with a way to make a living on the margins of society. But it's a tough, nasty business. If they need to separate rubber from copper, they burn it, so they inhale the fumes day after day. Many live in Agbogbloshie, so they're exposed to all the chemicals in the e-waste that moves through the place.
In his excellent 1990 novel Earth, David Brin writes about garbage mines, which are TwenCen California dump sites that are covered over, and later prized for their rare materials.
...it was inevitable that those landfills should draw the eyes of innovators, looking for ways to get rich.
Iron, aluminum, silica ... nickel, copper, zinc...
Claims were filed, mining plans presented and analyzed.... Excavation began between the ancient hills.
Into a past generation's waste, their desperate grandchildren dug for treasure.
The garbage rush was on.
There are parts of the world where people aren't waiting to open garbage mines; they're going after those raw materials now, for survival.
Via The Atlantic.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/25/2011)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Seabreacher, H.G. Winter's 1939 Torpoon
'Ken lay full-length in the padded body compartment, his feet resting on the controlling bars of the directional planes, hands on the torpoon's engine levers.' - HG Winters, 1939.
Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.
Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...' - Isaac Asimov, 1965.
ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.
Kazahk Ironist Protester Arrested For Blank Sign Protest
'...a man carried a white rectangular sign, blank on both sides.'
Bitcoin Surges Again, To $7,000
'... electronic, private cash, unbacked by any government, untraceable, completely anonymous.'
China Develops Taste Testing Robots
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
North Sea Stone Age Reconstruction And Philip K Dick
'Your Dip digs back into antiquity. Rome. Greece. Dust and old volumes.'
Tesla Robotaxis Will Automatically Recharge Themselves
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'
New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.'
Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD
'Gramp Stevens sat in a lawn chair, watching the mower at work...'
Elon Musk Foretells Tesla Sans Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'
Adversarial Patches Trick Computer Vision
'The surveillance cameras can all see it, but then they forget they’ve seen it.'
Amazon Warehouse Computer Can Fire People Now
'The system has already fired five people...'
BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.'
Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.'
'Young Razorbacks Before Their Katanas Grow In'
'Twin robotic arms with gleaming three-foot sword blades unfolded from the forward hydraulic assemblies...'
A New Way To Run Into Things
'He made an adjustment, pointed the tube at the wall beside Etzwane, and projected a cone of light.'
'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories