A US-based journalist has claimed that a giant e-waste landfill site in the Chinese province of Guangdong is a little more sinister than it may appear. E-waste is, of course, highly toxic and consequently needs to be disposed of in a safe manner.
However, Adam Minter, the author of the Shanghai Scrap, made an unusual discovery when he visited the landfill site in Guiyu. Mr Minter explained to readers that he discovered boxes of faulty, disused computer parts. The components were in their original packaging, with the products coming from major electronic firms like Samsung and HP.
Samsung, for its part, has already vehemently denied suggestions that it was aware of the disposal. In fact, the manufacturer observed that the computer components were made many years ago.
Other major firms caught up in the affair, including Panasonic and HP, have refused to make any public statements.
The majority of e-waste dumped in China does not come from the West as was once the case, according to Mr Minter, who observed that the majority now comes from Asia and China, in particular.
Guiyu, for example, became a popular location for e-waste recycling in the mid-2000s, with consumers throwing old computers and other spare parts to one side. Now, though, it's clear that rather than being used for recycling, the coastal town has simply become a dumping ground for computer parts.
Owing to the waste material, the groundwater in Guiyu has become undrinkable. And a recent study, conducted at China's Shantou University, concluded that the town has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world.
Sadly, local children also suffer from an uncommonly high rate of lead poisoning. This problem, according to Mr Minter, is being exacerbated by the fact that new computers are being disposed of in Guiyu.
Despite denials to the contrary, Mr Minter speculated that some of the world's leading technology firms may have had knowledge of the activities. "Of course it may be that they were dumped by some local company and HP and Samsung didn't know it was happening, but the fact that they've declined to answer my questions is weird in itself," he noted.