Over 70 million people in the world purchased an iPhone in the last 4 years. Last year, 2011, was Apple’s most profitable year in history, raking in over $108 billion. Many individuals are benefiting from the success of the product, while consumers find it hard to live without their little device after a few short days of use. Unfortunately, not everything benefits from the success of the iPhone. When you sit back and think of all the steps it takes to get that perfect little device into your hands, you realize the cost is much higher than the money you paid.
Coltan is a staple component of every iPhone; it contains a heat-resistant substance that can hold a high electrical charge. It’s also a bloodstained raw material. Most of the world’s coltan reserves are located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was rife with bloody battles over the course of 18 months. During this time, the Rwandan army stole enough coltan to make over $250 million.
Bloody political struggles aside, the environment is also taking quite a hit from the production of the iPhone. Of Apple’s 158 global suppliers, the company found that at least 58 suppliers did not monitor and control emissions, 69 did not comply with laws regarding hazardous waste disposal, and a whopping 112 had not properly stored or handled hazardous chemicals.
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