The Paw Print

The real cost of your electronic gadgets

Photo+from+Pixabay.
Photo from Pixabay.

Photo from Pixabay.

Photo from Pixabay.

Tarun Ravi, Staff Writer

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Nowadays, electronic gadgets have become a part of us. But do we really know how these gadgets are made and how its production has affected the lives of many people around the world?

It all starts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where workers as young as four years old mine for excessive amounts of cobalt. From there, the cobalt is shipped to China for the manufacturing of our smartphones.

Vice News writer Sarah Francoise stated the horrible conditions the workers work in. She wrote, “Children work in grueling, 12-hour shifts in the extreme heat or in the rain, often for no more than 1,000 to 2,000 Congolese Francs ($1-$2) per day.”

Scholastic.com’s Rebecca Zissou also claims there’s a lack of proper equipment for the workers. She wrote, “Many workers lack safety equipment, such as helmets, gloves, and face masks”.

People go thousands of feet under the Earth’s surface with no equipment breathing toxic chemicals which cause cancer and other diseases. With that, accidents are also very common.

If that weren’t enough, it’s reported by businesslive.co that many young girls who work in the mining areas are very prone to sexual harassment and becoming pregnant as early as age 9.

Many children are forced to work in these mines just so that there family so that they can support their families.

When one girl who was working in these mines was interviewed by Vice News, she said she started mining at the age of 9, after her father lost his job and couldn’t afford to feed their family and that she could only eat when I had enough money.

Another boy also interviewed by Vice News said that he used the money earned here to fund his education. He said, “ The money I get I use to buy notebooks and so I can pay school fees”.

Although many companies have refused to acknowledge these situations, some companies such as Apple and Samsung have promised not to buy cobalt that has been made from child labor.

Also, the DRC is a country with very low human development index and “labor laws which are rarely enforced” according to Zissou which is a major cause for the conditions for these workers.

But sadly, this is just the beginning as it is estimated that by 2025, the cobalt demand will rise twice as much due to more technological advances and the wanting of electric cars to replace cars that run on fossil fuels.

So what can a common person like you or me do to help these people?

In my opinion, the best thing we can do is just use our electronic gadgets without frequently changing them. We can also try educating other people about this topic. But other than that, all we can do is just hope that things get better.

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