Environmental Studies (A Case of Silicon Valley)

Environmental Studies (A Case of Silicon Valley)

The relationship between immigration and the environment is typical in the Silicon Valley case. Silicon Valley is the leading electronic manufacturing company in the US, and most of the consumers of electronic gadgets are from the US. The US, however, is the largest producer of electronic waste (E-waste) worldwide (Robbins, Hintz and Moore, 2014). These electronic waste dumping has realized detrimental effects to the environment as well as to the people in underdeveloped countries.

Lawrence Summers, a chief economist at the World Bank in his memo suggested that polluting industries should be taken to less developed countries. This case would mean that if at all the ones working in the less developed countries died from pollution; there would not be an economic shake or economic losses unlike if laborers in a developed country died. Most of the electronic gadgets are composed of nitric acid and other carcinogenic compounds which cause deadly effects to the environment and human health. Ghana is one of the underdeveloped countries, and it has had a severe problem of the digital divide with other developed countries like Europe (Robbins, Hintz and Moore, 2014). They have been able to receive second-hand electronic gadgets that have a shortened lifespan. When they become malfunctioned, they result in disposal, causing dumping.

Young immigrants are forced to perform in risky work of turning industrial electronic waste to raw materials without even wearing protective equipment in Silicon Valley as well as China. In Silicon Valley, approximately 70-80% of the populations of the workers are immigrants (Robbins, Hintz and Moore, 2014). They are the ones who are facing a massive risk of succumbing to the deadly side effects of semiconductors production as well as using dirty, polluted water ( Lécuyer,2017) Most of the working immigrants to add on it are young women from other countries. The employers tend to think that the women are low wage earners and that they would work for less. Silicon Valley typically employs female immigrants with color to work in very toxic departments.

The racial discrimination in Silicon Valley is evident and not only is it visible in Silicon Valley but also in political economy on how developing countries are regarded. Being less developed has made vices like electronic waste dumping and pollution an okay thing according to some individuals in developed countries. Gender segregation is also very evident in Silicon Valley because of selective recruiting ( Lécuyer,2017). Laborers from less developed countries are viewed by management as insignificant to the development of the economy which should not be the case.



Lécuyer, C. (2017). From clean rooms to dirty water: labor, semiconductor firms, and the struggle over pollution and workplace hazards in silicon valley. Information & Culture52(3), 304-333.

Robbins, P., Hintz, J., & Moore, S. A. (2014). Environment and society: a critical introduction. John Wiley & Sons.