Cobalt is an essential mineral that powers the batteries used for electric cars, mobile phones, and other electrical devices. What’s ethically wrong with it is that it plays a significant role in contributing to child labour in Congo.
Almost all of us own a mobile phone. Some even have more than one. Because of its many uses, we can’t help but love using it.
However, the phones we use almost every day play a significant role in contributing to child labour in Congo.
While we all enjoy using our mobile phones, Congolese children die while mining for cobalt.
Join Project Greenify as we unfold the unethical side of cobalt mining in Congo.
Image from Wikipedia (Dutch)
What is Cobalt and What Is It Used for?
Cobalt is a type of mineral commonly used for batteries that power electric cars, mobile phones, and other portable electrical devices.
Over 70% of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). About 15 to 30% of that is produced by artisanal (informal miners) and small-scale mining (ASM).
Recently, the demand for cobalt is increasing due to more electric cars, mobile phones, and other electrical gadgets are being sold. Thus, resulting in more artisanal miners in DRC.
Is My Phone Powered by Child Labour?
Sadly, about 40,000 children work as artisanal in hazardous conditions in DRC to extract cobalt.
The more mobile phones and other electronic devices are released, the more cobalt is in demand. Meaning, there are high chances that as cobalt demand increase, child labour in DRC also increases.
Can you imagine how these electronic devices that give us joy and satisfaction bring unimaginable experiences to the children in Congo? While we all enjoy living a sustainable life, these children were suffering only to get something to eat.
What Should We Do About Cobalt Mining in Congo?
Shutting down cobalt mining is not an option, especially for those Congolese whose lifeline depends on it. However, by being responsible consumers, we can help prevent the rise of child labor in that country.
Some well-known brands have already committed to responsible cobalt sourcing. Some even started testing the ASM formalization project that regulates mining methods and working conditions. Buying products from them is one way to be a responsible buyer.
Another way is by limiting our purchase to products that use cobalt. With this, the demand for cobalt will also decrease.
I’m pretty sure we can all survive with just one phone and wait longer before buying a new one. This way we can also help conserve energy and protect our planet. Be a responsible buyer from now on. Make this one of your sustainable goals and live a happy and healthy greenify life.
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