|In 2001, China became the country with the largest number of eproduct consumers. Mobile phone users alone totalled 334,830,000 at the end of 2004 — or one in every four Chinese. The race for the latest gadgets further fuels both production and consumption. Mobile phones not only contain toxic substances such as lead, cadmium and bromide, but also materials worth recovering like plastic and valuable metals. However, most end up in Chinese landfills. In Suzhou city, the Basel Convention Coordination Centre for Asia and the Pacific is tackling this growing e-waste problem through a mobile phone recycling
project — repairing ‘reusable’ phones and donating them to charity organizations, and treating ‘non-reusables’ to reduce hazardous impact on the environment.
This is just one of the 47 projects supported
by the Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development Showcase Programme, funded by the Government of Japan and serviced by UNEP. The programme awards US$30,000 grants to projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to address environmental problems.