A New York Times photo essay on electronics recycling in the West Bank shows unsafe practices that experts say correlate with health problems among residents.
The essay describes how an informal sector of Palestinian electronics recyclers collect end-of-life electronics from Israeli towns and cities. These loads are brought back into the West Bank and processed in a variety of settings, from scrap yards to living rooms to burn sites.
“In the Hebron region of the West Bank, processing Israeli electronic waste has become a lucrative, if illegal, industry,” the Times reported.
The number of electronics burning sites has fluctuated over the years amid efforts to regulate them, according to the Times. A burn ban briefly cut the number of sites significantly, but after bureaucratic disagreements led to a lack of enforcement, the burning has ramped up again.
The essay further relayed efforts to create a more formalized electronics recycling sector in the West Bank, as well as the roadblocks that have hampered that movement.
E-Scrap News detailed the Palestinian e-scrap sector in a June 2017 feature article, covering in detail the environmental damage and regulatory efforts that have taken place near Hebron, and in a 2018 interview with a local organization that opened a West Bank recycling education center.
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