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Mostaem Billah

Coordinates

Office: SN 2005

Telephone: (709) 864- 8998
Fax: (709) 864- 3119
E-mail: mostaem.billah@mun.ca

Supervisor

Dr. Josh Lepawsky

Thesis title

Economic Geography of the Computer Waste and Refurbishment Trade in Bangladesh

Research description

My research interests in economic activities and the environment concern the growing international problem of electronic waste or ‘e-waste’. The importance of IT to the world economy has brought a surge in demand for computers and related information technologies. Estimates suggest that some 100 million personal computers were in use around the world in 1990, and more than 360 million in 1998. By the year 2006, the average life span of these computers has decreased from 4-6 years to less than 2 years. As a growing fraction of this increasing stock becomes obsolete, more IT equipment enters the waste stream. Much of this waste is traded from industrial nations to developing countries for reclamation, reuse, and recycling but it is also simply dumped in developing countries as rubbish.

Bangladesh is an emerging economy. Its growing demand for computers and their accessories are met by imports. Computers are sold here with some brand names. In reality, many of these computers are assembled, cloned, reclaimed or reconditioned products from scrap or waste computers imported into the country. Bangladesh is also known to be a place for dumping hazardous e-waste from industrialized nations. The economic geography of the retail computer business in Bangladesh is not a well researched form of commercial activity. As a result, little information concerning the origin and source of computer equipment, its quality and quantity, flow and movement, cost and benefit, etc. are clearly understood. Therefore, it seems reasonable to initiate a comprehensive study of the economic geography of the computer waste and refurbishment trade in Bangladesh.


Figure 1: Secondhand Computer Shops in Dhaka City, Bangladesh, Photo by Mostaem Billah

In view of the foregoing statement, the following objectives are tentatively drawn to carry out an investigation on “The Economic Geography of the Computer Waste and Refurbishment Trade in Bangladesh”:

  1. To examine the nature, type, quantity and quality of computers entering into or selling in Bangladesh.
  2. Identify the origin and sources (also the potential sources), and dominant trade route(s) of computers entering into the country.
  3. To examine the commodity chain of these computers as goods and their linkages to waste.
  4. To appraise the ‘stability’ of computer business and trade in Bangladesh.




Figure 2: Customer looking for a Secondhand Monitor, Photo by Mostaem Billah

Information with regards to these objectives would be collected from both primary and secondary sources. The analytical part of the study will be presented through maps of the distribution and pattern of economic activity related to computer waste and refurbishment with the application statistical techniques and, possibly, the use of GIS.

Research Interests

  • Electronic Waste or E-Waste
  • Secondhand Computer and Refurbishment Business
  • Computer Waste & Ship Breaking Waste and Impacts
  • The Economics of Waste
  • Economic Geography

Publications

Book
  • Abdur Rouf K & Billah, M. 2006. Regional Geography of South Asia,(in Bangla) Published by Shujonesu Prokashani, 34 Banglabazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. ISBN 984-8727-00-0

Articles Published in Referred Journals
  • Billah, M. 2007. Environmental Impacts of Ship Scrapping Activities along the Coast of Bangladesh, The Pennsylvania Geographer, Vol. 45, No.1, Pennsylvania, USA (with S M N Amin)
  • Billah, M. 2006. Female Office Workers: Their Status and Problems, Journal of Bangladesh National Geographical Association, Vol. 33, No.1 & 2. Dhaka, Bangladesh (with T Rashid)
  • Billah, M. 2005. Ground Water Demand and Supply Ratio: A Case Study of Dhaka City, Oriental Geographer, The Bangladesh Geographical Society, Vol.49, No.2. Dhaka, Bangladesh (with H Akter).

Paper Presented at Seminar and Conferences
  • Amin S M N & Billah, M. 2005. “Environmental Impacts of Ship Scrapping in Bangladesh”, A paper presented at 101 Annual Meeting of The Association of American Geographers (AAG), Denver, Colorado, USA, 5-9 April.
  • Billah, M. 2005. “Transit and Asian Highway Across Bangladesh: Geopolitical Consideration” A paper presented at a seminar on Geography and Environment: Issues and Challenges, Organized by the Bangladesh National Geographical Society (BNGA), Dhaka, 2-4 March.

Professional Responsibilities

Assistant Editors

  • Assistant Editor, ORIENTAL GEOGRAPHER, Vol. 49, No 2, Published by Bangladesh Geographical Society, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Professional Affiliations

  • Life Member, Bangladesh Geographical Society (BGS), Since 2002
  • Life Member, Bangladesh National Geographical Association (BNGA), Since 2003
  • Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Geographical Society (BGS), 2005- 2007
  • Executive Member, Bangladesh Geographical Society (BGS), 2003- 2005
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