20 December 2012
A poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth England
Wales and Northern Ireland has found that more than
20 million Britons (43%) are hoping to unwrap electronic gadgets like iPads,
Kindles and smartphones this Christmas. The new YouGov poll also reveals that
more than 13 million adults (28%) have bought, or plan to buy, a gadget as a Christmas
present for someone else.
Friends of the Earth’s senior campaigner Paul
Steedman said: “Millions of us are
getting excited about new iPads and smartphones for Christmas – but many would
be shocked to learn that mining tin that may end up in these items is killing
coral and precious forests and wrecking the lives of communities in Indonesia.”
The survey also shows that millions of gadget-lovers in the
UK (55% of those asked) think manufacturers should ensure that people and the
environment aren’t harmed to make their products. It follows Friends of the
Earth’s recent report into the devastation
caused by mining for tin – an essential component in all electronic items.
A further 24% said that governments, through laws and regulations they
pass, should be most responsible for ensuring that people and the environment
are protected in the making of electronic products, by ensuring the processes
involved are safe and sustainable.
Paul Steedman continued: “As tablets fly off the shelves this Christmas, the majority
of people say that manufacturers and governments – not shoppers – should be
responsible for ensuring they’re made without harming people or the
environment. That’s why we’re asking tablet makers to back new rules for
companies to come clean about their supply chains – so we can love our
favourite products, and love the way they’re made.”
Nearly a third of the world’s tin is from Indonesia’s Bangka Island. Friends of the Earth’s research shows that it’s almost certain some this
tin ends up in Apple and Samsung products, although the companies may not have
known this or about the devastating effect of mining on the island. Despite
over 10,000 emails from customers and members of the public taking part in
Friends of the Earth’s online petition, asking them to come
clean about the tin in their gadgets, Samsung and Apple have so far refused to
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s new Make It
Better campaign is asking leading smartphone makers
to say whether their phones contain tin linked to the destruction of coral
reefs and forests in Indonesia’s Bangka islands. A three-part documentary series has also
been produced, to highlight the devastation local communities and environment
are suffering in Indonesia as a result of tin mining.
Devastation on Bangka Island, Indonesia:
- Dangerous and unregulated tin mining on Bangka Island killed and injuring miners – police figures show that in 2011 an average of
one miner a week died in an accident.
- Silt from tin mining dredgers and boats
is clouding the formerly clear sea around Bangka, killing the seagrass
eaten by turtles and 60-70% of the island’s coral reefs, driving away fish
and ruining fishermen’s livelihoods.
- Farmers struggle to grow crops in soil
turned acidic by the destruction of forests for tin mining, while
abandoned craters scar large parts of Bangka Island.
- Doctors suspect a possible link between
Bangka’s high number of malaria cases and the hundreds of abandoned tin
mine craters filled with stagnant water that are a breeding ground for
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