Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2014 Contents B34
the values of recycling."
The recycling of old "bricks" has the potential to make a huge
positive impact on the environ-
"There is plastic and a whole
range of metals, whether it be steel,
aluminum, gold, silver or copper,
that can be recovered and reused.
And what that means is that we
would be replacing the need to
continually mine our natural
resources. So it has a lot of great
environmental benefits," Read said.
The popularity of the smart-
phone has been a major factor in
the increasing production of e-
wastage, with only ten per cent of
consumers recycling their mobile
"With [the] increased popularity
of smartphones, and the increasing
number of mobile phone subscrip-
tions, the number of unused hand-
sets continues to climb each year,"
Up to 50 million tonnes of e-
waste are produced globally each
year, despite 95 per cent to 98 per
cent of the material being suitable
for recycling. (The Daily Advertiser)
What does one do with 6,000
unwanted mobile phones? Find an
artistic outlet, of course.
US artist Chris Jordan has turned
trash into a treasure that Sydney res-
idents and visitors can enjoy, creating
Australia s largest e-waste artwork on
the Customs House forecourt.
Created from nearly 6,000 recycled
Australian mobile phones, and sitting
at an impressive four by eight metres,
the artwork is part of Planet Ark s
National Recycling Week.
The work was commissioned by the
mobile phone recycler, MobileMuster.
The Seattle-based artist is renowned
for his large-scale art, critiquing mass
consumption and global wastage.
The artwork aims to inspire Aus-
tralians to recycle the 23 million mobile
phones, batteries and accessories that
fill their homes.
"Jordan s piece is the best piece of
work we have done that engages people
in a very positive and constructive way.
It makes people realise the immensity
of our consumption of mobile phones,"
Rose Read, the recycling manager for
"Our biggest challenge is getting
people to acknowledge that recycling
is actually a really good thing to do
with their old phone and it really does
make a difference. But once people
start thinking about it, their behaviours
start to change and they start to realise
In this rural speck of hyper-con-
nected America, it s easier to hear a
cow moo than a mobile phone ring.
That s because Green Bank is home
to the world s most sensitive radio tel-
escope, a device that catches the birth
and death of stars and signals so faint
they are mere whispers from space.
And since the electronics of mobile
phones and Wi-Fi grids would mess
with that delicate task, here technology
that s taken for granted in much of
the world is severely restricted or
And a side effect of that is that
Green Bank, population 143, has
become a mecca for people who are
sick of electromagnetic waves. They
claim the migraines and other ailments
they blamed on mobile phones go
Green Bank and the area around it
in Pocahontas County are in the heart
of a so-called "Quiet Zone" declared
in 1958 to shield scientists super-keen
eye on the universe.
Standing 500 ft tall, with a white
dish 330 ft in diameter, the telescope
operates day and night capturing sig-
nals from space.
"We can look at the birth of stars,
the death of stars," said Michael Hol-
stine, business manager at what is for-
mally known as the National Radio
"This is the most sensitive radio tel-
escope on the planet," he said.
It can detect a signal that has the
equivalent energy to the impact of one
snowflake hitting the ground. But to
achieve that, the radio environment
has to be hush-hush quiet.
Radio transmissions have to be at
a frequency as low as possible.
In a radius of ten miles around the
telescope, anything that gives off a
radio wave---Wi-Fi, mobile phones,
TV remote controls or microwave
ovens---is banned or restricted.
When you are trying to monitor a
quasar, for example---super-distant,
massive celestial objects that give off
tremendous amounts of energy---a
mobile phone signal is like a loud,
bothersome noise, Holstine said.
"A quasar typically gives a signal
which is a billionth of a billionth of a
billionth of a watt. A mobile phone is
about two watts," he said.
"It will completely drown out what
the astronomers are trying to receive,"
The bottom line for non-astronomer
earthlings is that dozens of people
have come here seeking relief from an
ailment called electromagnetic hyper-
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, a
growing source of concern in a world
more connected each day, is not for-
mally classified as a disease by the
World Health Organisation (WHO),
although it does acknowledge its exis-
The WHO says it plans to carry out
a formal assessment in 2016 of the
risk posed by the world s billions of
Back in Green Bank the absence of
mobile phones is not a worry. (AFP)
Rural village living
phones and loving it
Artist Chris Jordan turns trash into treasure
Chris Jordan's on display in Sydney.
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt November 16, 2014
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