Amazing Race Ends, But E-waste Crisis Continues
Last night was the finale for the 15th season of Amazing Race, but we at Redemtech still haven’t received a response from the show’s producers or CBS regarding our blogs earlier this season when the reality TV show placed contestants in an Asian e-waste chop shop tearing apart electronic devices with their bare hands.
A San Diego couple won the $1 million top prize for racing around the world and participating in various cultural activities of the nations the contestants visited, but the unfortunate cultural activity chosen on one leg of the race set off alarms here at Redemtech and prompted us to alert the e-waste management community.
What bothered us regarded the eager teams of contestants participating in a challenge that involved demolishing end-of-lifecycle electronics using hammers and crude cutters. The intent was to involve the contestants in a common activity in parts of Vietnam and other Asian countries, where local residents disassemble electronics to get at the precious metals inside. Unfortunately, such crude methods of disassembly result in mountains of discarded e-waste while the processes to extract usable materials exposes workers to toxic chemicals found in manufactured electronics.
It’s still shocking that the producers of Amazing Race would be so oblivious to the e-waste crisis and would involve their contestants in such an activity. What’s also alarming is that CBS aired the episode in the first place. CBS also broadcasts 60 Minutes, a news program that did such a good job of exposing the e-waste crisis in China in a program we whole-heartedly praise here at Redemtech.
I suppose that’s the difference between news and “entertainment.” Which may be why the many angry fans who responded negatively to our blogs didn’t seem to understand the dangers of the global e-waste crisis.
Those fans may be disappointed that the series has again come to an end. Hopefully, the next time Amazing Race launches teams of contestants for another around-the-world jaunt, the reality TV series will take into account that not all local practices are healthy and exposing people to toxic e-waste is a dangerous part of reality.