On electric cars and child labour

“Somebody is going to get hurt” is the famous lines of a comedian. This is exactly what is happening right now. While the electric cars are tipped to be eco friendly and welcome with hoopla and celebration because of its clean energy all is not well as it seems to be. Somewhere out in Congo cobalt mines the children are living a hellish life so people can drive an electric car. Nearly 40,000 children work everyday in the mines checking the rocks for cobalt. And these children are as young as 4 years old. Its a heart rending sight. Tiny innocent kids rummaging through those polluted mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) burnt by the toxic red dust, exposing themselves to skin disease and deadly lung condition. They work for as low as 8p a day. So that these electric cars are affordable.

Picking through a mountain of huge rocks with his tiny bare hands, the exhausted little boy makes a pitiful sight. These children are used to check the rocks for streaks of cobalt which is the key ingredient for the batteries that are used in electric cars.

So when Britain took the pledge to band the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to buy electric vehicles instead who would have thought that somebody is going to get hurt. The pledge was to herald the future fo clean energy and pollution free environment. In such noble hope one would never ever thought of the nearly 40000 children who work in the mines in Congo who are going the pay the price for clean air.

What is the use of technology if it’s used in isolation? It merely helps exploitation in a sophisticated way. Nearly all the big electric car manufacturers buy the cobalt from this African state for it has more the half the reserves of Cobalt in the world. Ideally this must make the country prosperous for cobalt is the new gasoline. But wait let see

The fireworks industry in India has been attracting all the flak for its ‘use’ of child labour. Which is more of a perception in many levels but DRC, according to UN, as the worst form of child labour. The country may have the law to safe guard the children from labour but the enforcement of the law is weak.

So the next time you want to buy the car wait for the block chain technology to mature so you will know where the cobalt for the car came from and you would also know how may small children had risked their lives to give you the car. So before you buy the car you would have probably run over an innocent child

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *