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 Monday, November 07, 2011

­Tests at a school beside an informal electronic waste salvage site in Ghana's capital Accra reveal contamination due to lead, cadmium and other health-threatening pollutants over 50 times higher than risk-free levels.

A produce market, a church headquarters and a soccer field are likewise polluted to varying degrees, all neighbours of the Agbogbloshie scrap metal site, where electronic trash is scavenged for valuable metals - especially copper. Schoolchildren as young as six work around bonfires of circuitry, plastic and other leftover high-tech trash.

Ironically, experts say critical metals and other elements in all that destroyed equipment -- much of it castoffs from Europe and North America -- may soon be in short supply, which threatens to drive up the cost of products ranging from flat-screen TVs and mobile phones to electric cars and wind turbines.

The contamination test results were shared by Ghana researcher Atiemo Sampson at this year's Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP-Initiative) Summer School, hosted in Europe by Philips and Umicore for 20 of the field's most promising international graduate researchers.

The sampling -- for iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, cadmium, chromium, nickel and lead -- showed dangerous contamination at the school and market; both had levels roughly half those measured at the site where the e-waste is incinerated. In soil around the school site alone, measurements of lead were 12 times higher and cadmium 2.5 times higher than the levels at which intervention is required.

Mr. Sampson adds that similar e-waste sites are being created elsewhere in Ghana.

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Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:48:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Internet-related products and services accounted for 25 percent of France's GDP growth last year, according to a new McKinsey study paid for by Google.
Sectors such as e-commerce, IT equipment and software, internet access services and VoIP represented 3.7 percent of France's 2010 GDP. The internet has created 700,000 direct jobs over the last 15 years in France and is projected to create another 450,000 by 2015.
 
The study also found that companies which make most use of internet tools are growing and exporting twice as fast as others. McKinsey forecasts that internet-created value in the country's economy could hit EUR 160 billion over the next 4 years if France adopts successful international models or decides to make an even greater public investment.
 
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 3:50:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 06, 2009

The European Commission's Digital Competitiveness report published today shows that Europe's digital sector has made strong progress since 2005. Over half ( 56%) of Europeans now regularly use the internet, 80% of them via a highspeed connection (compared to only one third in 2004), making Europe the world leader in broadband internet. Europe is the world's first truly mobile continent with more mobile subscribers than citizens (a take up rate of 119%).

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Source: Cellular News
Thursday, August 06, 2009 11:00:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DIRSI (Regional Dialogue on the Information Society) has released the final draft on its report about mobile phones and poverty in Latin America and The Caribbean. The report abstract notes that access to telephony for low-income groups is largely based on different strategies of use around mobile telephony.

The main goal of this research project was to understand the strategies employed by the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean to access and use mobile telephony services, as well as to identify the major market and regulatory barriers for increased penetration and usage. More generally it investigated how access to mobile telephony contributes to improving the livelihoods of the poor.

Most common cost-reduction strategies (% of users)

The results show that mobile telephony is highly valued by the poor as a tool for strengthening social ties and for increased personal security, and that it is beginning to prove useful for enhancing business and employment opportunities. Overall, the results suggest that the economic impact of mobile adoption by the poor is mediated by social capital variables such as the strengthening of trust networks and improved coordination of informal job markets.

Interestingly, the level of shared ownership found was relatively low: in most cases users own their own handset and service. The notable exceptions are Colombia and Peru, where a healthy service resale market in urban areas (with very competitive tariffs) reduces ownership incentives.

Main reason for not using SMS services 

They also highlight the urgent need to rethink public policies that are premised on the mobile phone as a luxury good. For the poor, mobile telephony has long become the most cost-effective and accessible alternative.

The report is based on over 8,000 face-to-face interviews were conducted with individuals aged 13 to 70 residing in low-income households in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The full report (pdf file, 20 pages, lots of charts) can be downloaded for free from the DIRSI website.

On the web: Regional Dialogue on the Information Society.

 

Source: Cellular News, based on report by DIRSI (Regional Dialogue on the Information Society).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 9:41:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |