I’m a little late to the party on this one, but friend and colleague Michael Zhao has posted his multimedia project on electronic waste in China online in documentary form. He starts in California, where trashed computers are dismantled and, occasionally, recycled. More often they’re sent over to China, where men, women, and children pick them apart for materials that might be of value. My first glimpse of all this was when Michael was putting the piece together and he showed me footage of toxic-looking orange-colored smoke rising from tubs of chemicals as workers extracted gold from circuit boards. Here’s a three-and-a-half minute preview:
Josh Chin gives more of the back story here.
Andrew Leonard at Salon sang its praises here.
Michael talks about the project for the Asia Society, where he now works, here.
And you can view the whole thing here.