NewsWest AfricaGhana: E-waste, pollution plagues Accra's Agbloboshie

Sat,22Nov2014

Posted on Thursday, 07 November 2013 18:15

Ghana: E-waste, pollution plagues Accra's Agbloboshie

By Billie Adwoa McTernan

Agbloboshie has been the dumping ground for electronic goods imported into Ghana. Photo©Blacksmith InstituteAgbloboshie in Ghana's capital Accra has been ranked in the top 10 most polluted places in the world, thanks to toxic fumes, which are a result of consistent dumping of electronic goods, a report by Green Cross Switzerland and the Blacksmith Institute says.

 

For decades Agbloboshie has been the dumping ground for electronic goods imported into Ghana, mainly from Western Europe.

About 215,000 tons of second hand consumer items land in Agbloboshie every year, generating 129,000 tons of electronic waste, the report says.

Of the total imported, half is refurbished and sold on. The remaining is recycled with the valuable parts removed.

The report highlights the most concerning aspect of the recycling is the burning of sheathed cables to recover the copper inside them.

Styrofoam food containers and tyres are often added to the burning piles by local recyclers to keep the fires going. In doing so many toxic materials are released, including lead and mercury.

A report by Ghana's Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 said that 75% of goods that arrive at Tema port ends up at Agbloboshie.

As well as containing one of Accra's largest food markets, some 40,000 people are said to live in the wider area that is locally referred to as Sodom and Gomorrah.

The report says though that some 250,000 people are likely to be affected by the fumes emanating from the site.

In December the government banned the importation of second hand fridges because of the dangerous chlorofluorocarbon gas inside them, but recent reports have found that the practise continues.



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