Environmentalists are worried about an extraordinary rubbish dump in the Ghana’s capital Accra. Tonnes of electronic waste are dumped at Agbogbloshie, a 1.6 km square dumpsite, located just ten minutes’ drive from the CBD.
For locals, the hi-tech scrap is a valuable source of money. Experts are however warning that the dump site is putting the health of the residents there at risk. Every month tonnes of old electrical equipment arrive here from the US and Europe. Men, women and children pick it over, searching for scrap metals that can be re-sold.
But at the same time, they expose themselves to the waste’s highly toxic materials, like lead and phosphorus. Those materials have made the site, according to environmental NGO Green Cross, one of the most polluted places on earth.
Mike Anane, an environmentalist, terms Agbogbloshie as a poisoned graveyard of electronic waste and attributes it to illegal shipment and dumping of e-waste here by the industrialised countries.
There are international laws banning the export of electronic waste. But they can be side-stepped by labelling shipments “usable second-hand goods. Some are re-sold but the majority gets dumped here.
The Ghanaian government has strongly condemned the illegal dumping of electronic waste here. But as yet has offered no solutions about how to clean up the problem.