The Chilean miners, who may remain trapped in their tunnel until Christmas, are struggling with physical and psychological problems

Since the 5. August, 33 miners are trapped in a nearly 700-meter-deep tunnel in the Chilean Atacama Desert. Since pipes could be drilled to transport food, their chances of survival are basically not bad. For the first 17 days of their captivity, the workers had lived on what were supposed to be two days’ worth of supplies. Shift leader Luis Urzúa had limited the rations given out at 48-hour intervals to one can of canned fish, half a cookie, a piece of peach and a sip of milk, causing those trapped to lose up to ten kilograms of weight per person.

The food problem is now solved. However, it could take until Christmas for the miners to be freed from their captivity. This week, work has begun with a special drill, but it can advance only between 8 and 20 meters per day, among other things, to avoid further damage. In addition, a 33-centimeter-wide hole must first be pre-drilled before the actual opening twice as wide can be cleared, through which a transport capsule for the workers is then to be sent into the shaft.

Some rich industrialized countries, such as the USA and Japan, want to continue exporting their toxic waste to developing countries

Every year, 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste are generated worldwide. In China alone, 20 million cell phones are thrown away every year, and there are already two billion cell phone owners. In addition, there are one billion PCs in the world, and that number is expected to reach two billion by 2015. With the proliferation of electronic devices, which will continue, the associated mulling problem will also increase. The biggest growth in the next few years will be in the emerging countries, which have not solved the problem of electronic waste, unlike the European Union, for example, where there is now an obligation to take back electronic waste.

Achim Steiner, the director of the UN Environment Program, offered some of these figures in a speech he gave at the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP9) in Bali. The agreement should ensure the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal. In fact, Steiner said, based on a report, the proper use of information and communication technologies could save 15 percent of CO2 emissions. The rapid growth and overfulfillment of devices, Steiner says, poses "The international community sees this as a major health and environmental problem". The bulk of the mull normally ends up in African or Asian countries, where the dangerous chemicals and heavy metals are released into the environment.