Ecologist's plea for old mobile phones

03/04/2009

Ecologists Plea For Old Mobile Phones

Recycling mobile phones is essential to the future of some of Africa's most endangered creatures, it has been advised.

Australian ecologist Guy Williams told ABC News this week it is vital you trade in your mobile rather than allow it to rot in a desk drawer or end up in a landfill site.

Mr Williams has recently been appointed to act as an ambassador for the Africa in the United Nations-backed fight to increase awareness of the region's plight to save the gorillas of the Congo.

He explains that in addition to plastic and metal, most mobiles contain a mineral named coltan that is illegally mined in the republic - often directly from the great apes' natural habitat.

"We realised that the majority of people have a couple of old mobile phones ... sitting in their bottom drawers," Mr Williams added.

He concluded these devices could make "a pretty sizeable contribution" to collecting coltan that could "supply essentially the world's ... requirements for the next 10 to 15 years".

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