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The deadly consequences of saving the planet

December 26, 2008

Last December 2007, Finnwatch released “Connectig components, dividing communities”, a report on tin production for consumer electronics in DRC and Indonesia.

Tin is mainly used for solder in printed circuit boards. Finnwatch points out that tin “has become a hot commodity after new European environmental regulations came into force [in 2004], which require the electronics industry to use tin instead of lead. This trend has significantly contributed to a rise in the global tin prices in recent years. At present the global solder market accounts for almost half of global tin consumption. Seventy percent of solder sales goes to the electronics industry”.

We tend to forget the impact that laws passed by our representatives can have on our daily life. This is a clear example. None of us may remember this law. However, the people in North Kivu are suffering the consequences of these very much shortsighted enviromental regulations. Shorsighted in the sense of its uncapability to preview the following. The environmental alternative to lead was tin, and the place to find tin was North Kivu. The rest is history.

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