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Copper: acid and dust

5 minutes

In a changing economy, Indian farmers turn to a different crop: copper

Young Sanjay and his friends have abandoned their fertile northern India farm fields and taken up a more dangerous line of work: collecting copper powder by submerging discarded circuit boards in nitric acid, and selling the usable leftover materials to factories. In many ways, their process is similar to farm work, requiring them to cut, clean, and sort through the circuit boards. Their harvest, however, is anything but sustainable: it poisons their lungs and the land that used to provide for them.

Director: Mike Paterson

Website: 94 Elements

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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