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n° solid waste

April 18 @ 20:00

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…The human mind is only capable of absorbing a few things at a time. We see what is taking place in front of us in the here and now, and cannot envisage simultaneously a succession of processes, no matter how integrated and complementary. Our faculties of perception are consequently limited even as regards fairly simple phenomena. The fate of a single man can be rich with significance, that of a few hundred less so, but the history of thousands and millions of men does not mean anything at all, in any adequate sense of the word. The symmetriad is a million—a billion, rather—raised to the power of N: it is incomprehensible. We pass through vast halls, each with a capacity of ten Kronecker units, and creep like so many ants clinging to the folds of breathing vaults and craning to watch the flight of soaring girders, opalescent in the glare of searchlights, and elastic domes which criss-cross and balance each other unerringly, the perfection of a moment, since everything here passes and fades. The essence of this architecture is movement synchronized towards a precise objective. We observe a fraction of the process, like hearing the vibration of a single string in an orchestra of supergiants. We know, but cannot grasp, that above and below, beyond the limits of perception or imagination, thousands and millions of simultaneous transformations are at work, interlinked like a musical score by mathematical counterpoint. It has been described as a symphony in geometry, but we lack the ears to hear it… *

The annual e-waste production amounts to an estimate of 30-50 tons (UNEP, 2010). However, just a small fraction, approximately 10%, of the overall amount of e-waste is considered to be managed in an environmentally sound manner, while about 80% is exported to weaker countries, such as Ghana, Vietnam and Indonesia, where it will go through rudimentary processes of dismantlement (Lundstedt, 2011). The inappropriate processes of disassembly and recycling of e-waste result in grave hazards to the environment and humans (Prakash et al., 2010), because of the presence of toxic substances that may be released during the management procedure (Lundstedt, 2011). At the same time, although e-waste contains dangerous components, it is also a great resource as it contains extractable precious materials such as gold, silver, and platinum (Prakash et al., 2010). It has to be noted, however, that most peripheral countries, where the majority of the e-waste is exported, do not have the capacity or the technology to deal with the ever-increasing quantities of e-waste, resulting in a rudimentary management of hazardous materials.

*Stanisław Lem, Solaris


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