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 -
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve. - Margaret Atwood, 2003.
Drones Guided By The Mind Alone
'His treads left no tracks upon the floor...' - Clifford Simak, 1961.
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.
A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'
Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.
Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'
Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.
Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'
Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'
Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'
Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'
NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories