1. The true price of a mobile phone
Mobile phones have social and environmental costs which are not reflected in the price that you pay when you buy one.
A standard mobile contains between 500 and 1,000 different components. The extraction and processing of the minerals that are the raw materials for these components produce some 75 kg of waste materials per phone.Some of these elements are expensive and scarce resources, and they are relationates with societal abuses and environmental.
For example, there is one gram of tungsten in every tonne of rock.In other words, there is very nearly a tonne of waste for every gram of tungsten that is eventually used in an electronic device. Both the mining of these rare and expensive minerals and the waste produced as they are refined can have severe negative impacts on the environment.
In Europe, around 40 per cent of existing mobiles are renewed every year – that is around 18 million mobiles in Spain alone. Apart from the battery, most mobiles have a useful life of about 10 years, but on average they are used for between 18 and 30 months before they are replaced.
This rapid pace of renewal has different causes: advertising, fashion and the constant introduction of new features all play a role. The high price of repairs and replacement components and the difficulty of reprogramming mobiles to incorporate new features also speed up the replacement rate. Lengthening the useful lives of mobiles, therefore, will reduce the demand for the minerals needed to build them and can help reduce the negative impacts of mineral extraction in DRC.
But there is a third problem: the volume and toxicity of electronic waste.
In Europe, for example, it has been calculated that we produce some 14 kg of electronic waste per person per year. Despite being prohibited by the Basel Convention, much of this waste is exported to Africa described falsely as second hand products which end up in huge tips of technological rubbish. These tips, with their toxic contents leaking into the environment, have serious consequences for the health of people who live nearby.
2. Accompanying and defending the rights of displaced people and refugees in the Congo.
The ALBOAN and the Jesuit Refugee Service projects
Eastern DRC is experiencing a humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis, with armed rebel groups and the Congolese army fighting each other for control over the region’s natural and mineral resources. In constant danger, the people of the province of North Kivu, the northern part of eastern DRC, have no choice but to move away to escape the violence.
In September 2013, it was estimated that across the whole of DRC over 2 million people had abandoned their homes. Many survive in makeshift settlements, with no access to humanitarian aid because they are not officially recognised by United Nations agencies.
These displaced people are malnourished, have no income and do not have access to education or health care. They suffer psychological trauma caused by multiple displacements and violence and the sheer difficulty of surviving from day to day.
Education of young and adolescent
ALBOAN, JESC and Jesuit Missions, social organisations of the Society of Jesus in Europe, all support the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Goma, the capital of North Kivu, assisting 156,000 people living in seven camps.
JRS offers a range of services, providing aid in the form of food and emergency materials such as blankets and tarpaulins to build huts; running education projects; training teachers; building and equipping secondary schools; and working with parents to help them see the importance of education and make sure that that their younger children attend school. JRS runs literacy projects and provides training in trades for adults in the camps and distributes tools so that they can find work and in time assure themselves a stable source of income. JRS also provides psycho-social support for people traumatised by displacement and violence. The psychological care given to women who have been raped is particularly important
Por último el JRS promociona entre la población de los campamentos la alfabetización, el aprendizaje de oficios y la distribución de herramientas de trabajo, con la finalidad de que les ayude a encontrar un empleo y garantizar una fuente de ingresos estable en el tiempo.