Ghana is said to have the largest informal recycling industry in Africa and imports some 40,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. Joseph Awuah-Darko and his university friends have been turning waste from the sprawling Agbogbloshie dumping ground in Ghana’s capital, Accra, into high-end furniture made by the people working on the dump.
E-waste, the term given to discarded electronic appliances, is often shipped by developed nations to poorer countries such as Ghana. RTD visits the country’s most infamous dumping ground, Agbogbloshie. Locals call it “Sodom and Gomorrah” after the infamous Biblical sin cities. Its air and soil are polluted with toxic chemicals, while extreme poverty, child labour and criminal gangs are also rife.
Ghana is one of several African countries where electronic goods are sent once they have been discarded by developed nations. Agbogbloshie is an enormous dumping ground near Accra where digital appliances are dismantled for scrap. The process employed by those working there involves burning off plastic casing to uncover metal components. As a result, extremely toxic chemicals are released into the environment. The site operates without any health and safety regulations, and every day those living and working there, including young children, are exposed to substantial health risks. Despite this, many Ghanaians still see the e-waste industry as a vital source of employment.
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