60 Minutes Wins Polk Award For "Wasteland"

Award Given For Story About Environmental And Health Impact Of E-Waste Dumped In China

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The George Polk Award for Television Reporting will be presented to 60 Minutes correspondent and Emmy Award-winner Scott Pelley, producer Solly Granatstein and co-producer Nicole Young for "The Wasteland."

In this segment, the trio divulged how some American companies that are paid to recycle electronic waste have instead dumped it in China, which has led to environmental despoliation and severe health risks. After the "60 Minutes" crew tracked a Denver recycling company's shipment to southern China, the firm lost its contract and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began investigating dozens of other suspect recycling businesses.

60 Minutes ventured to one of the most toxic places on Earth - a town in China where you can't breathe the air or drink the water, a town where the blood of the children is laced with lead.

Much of the poison is coming out of the homes, schools and offices of America. The story is about how your best intentions to be green can be channeled into an underground sewer that flows from the United States and into the wasteland. That wasteland is piled with the burning remains of some of the most expensive, sophisticated stuff that consumers crave. And Pelley discovered that the gangs who run the place wanted to keep it a secret.

Now in their 60th year, the Awards were established by the University in 1949 to memorialize George Polk, a CBS reporter who was killed while covering the civil war in Greece. "Courage, diligence and skill were hallmarks of George Polk's career, and we are proud to honor the journalists who carry on that tradition today," said Dr. David J. Steinberg, president of Long Island University. "In these difficult times, when many newspapers and magazines face financial peril, we treasure these George Polk Award winners and the news media's essential support for investigative reporting."

The annual George Polk Seminar will take place on Wednesday, April 15, at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts on Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus. The George Polk Awards will be presented at a luncheon honoring the winners, listed below, at The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday, April 16, 2009.