Stop Dumping Toxic Electronic Waste in Desert


Target: Jerry Brown, Governor of California

Goal: Stop California from dumping toxic electronic waste in the Yuma desert

For years, California has been dumping large amounts of electronic waste such as glass and metals from TVs, computers, and other technological devices instead of recycling it. California has very strict electronic waste laws so officials have been sending the waste to Arizona where it has created a veritable mountain of junk. This mountain contaminates soil and crops in a large area with toxic heavy metals. California needs to closely track where its electronic waste is going and make sure it is being recycled instead of dumped in the desert.

Consumers in California have to pay an extra fee for certain electronics, presumably so they can be recycled. However, recyclers have been sending California’s electronic waste to Yuma, Arizona where it is dumped in the desert. Once this was brought to light, California officials cracked down on recyclers and told them to stop sending electronic waste to Yuma. But recently, 9 million more pounds of electronic waste from California was found in the desert outside of Yuma. Although this is a drop from the 41 million pounds of California e-waste that were found around Yuma years ago, this clearly demonstrates that recyclers in California have not stopped dumping their waste in Arizona instead of recycling it as they should.

Electronic waste from things like computers and televisions contains toxic metals such as cadmium and lead. These mountains of glass and toxic metals are exposed to desert winds, which spread contamination to the surrounding areas. Soil samples from the area were found to contain 100 times more lead than regular soil. These toxic metals affect the central nervous system and can cause serious harm if consumed by humans. A nearby lemon grove was tested and found to be contaminated with high levels of lead, indicating that food sources in the surrounding area are threatened by the toxic metals.

These mountains of toxic glass and metal are harmful to the environment and to humans. Urge the governor of California to enact stricter measures to track and regulate where California’s electronic waste ends up to stop these mountains of waste from poisoning the earth.


Dear Governor Brown,

California has been sending its electronic waste to Arizona without the knowledge of consumers for years now. Californians pay an extra fee to get this waste recycled, but this money ends up being stolen by companies in Arizona who do not recycle the waste, but dump it in the desert. This creates massive mountains of glass and toxic metals outside of Yuma, Arizona.

Chemicals from toxic metals like cadmium and lead seep into the soil and are spread by desert winds into surrounding areas. This contaminates the earth and nearby food sources which could be consumed by humans. Surrounding soil has been found to contain 100 times more lead than normal soil. Lead can cause serious damage to humans, animals, and the environment.

Please enact stricter measures on tracking where California’s electronic waste ends up and take action against companies that continue to dump harmful waste instead of recycling it.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: chieforganizer via Creative Commons

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