Good people, Timesonline recently reported that Japan’s high-tech rubbish dumps – the vast “urban mines” of landfill outside every big city – have grown so huge that the country now ranks among the biggest natural resource nations in the world. This report states that:

Tens of millions of defunct mobile phones, discarded televisions, PCs and MP3 players conceal a “virtual lode” of hundreds of tonnes of precious metals. An even greater seam may be lurking forgotten – but not yet discarded – in Japan’s attics and garages.

According to new calculations by the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) in Tsukuba, Japan has unwittingly accumulated three times as much gold, silver and indium than the entire world uses or buys in a year. In the case of platinum, Japan’s urban mines may contain six times annual global consumption.

You will notice that one high-tech product that rarely finds its way to these rubbish dumps is the automobile. As I write, thousands of used Japanese cars (kaunjika wa magalimoto) are being shipped to other countries particularly in Africa. Even though governments in Africa have regulations concerning roadworthiness of vehicles in place, many people still cling to their old unsafe cars simply because of economic problems. They can bribe the traffic policemen just to make sure that their car remains on the road.They usually drive these kinds of cars in remote roads and in most cases, they overload them so that they should gain from them as much as possible in their twilight.But time finally comes when such cars become irreparable!

Pic from Joshua Ngalande's Facebook profile

Pic from Joshua Ngalande's Facebook Profile

Scrap cars are accumulating in many countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa. People might not easily notice this trend because these cars are not in one place. For instance, if you go into the suburbs of Blantyre in Malawi, you will easily find that a number of households have at least one scrap car in their backyard. One might be mistaken that they keep these cars as souvenirs but no, they just do not know how to dispose them.In light of this, I would like to propose that companies like Toyota should be following up these scrap cars so that they should be recycled. Some dealers can be involved in the business of collecting scrap cars and relaying them to companies like Toyota and the like.This will help to preserve  our environment and also to ensure that our natural resources are depleted at a slower rate.