A quick glimpse of how one of the worst places on earth looks like in January 2019
By Muntaka Chasant | 436 words | Reading time: 1.5 min
Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana/ 28 January 2019
We have received scores of email asking about the scene below (first photo), and how such a place could exist. I captured this scene while on a working visit to the area on 18 December 2018.
Thousands living in this area face varying degrees of environmental health risks, including exposure to particulate and gaseous pollutants.
As a control measure, we launched an air pollution awareness campaign in Accra's low-income areas to help increase local knowledge of the adverse impact of poor air quality on human health.
Air pollution is linked to more than 28,000 premature deaths in Ghana every year, figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal.
Ghana’s annual mean levels of particulate pollution (PM2.5) far exceed the WHO guidelines on outdoor air quality - 31.1 micrograms per cubic meter [μg/m3] of ultra-fine particles of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter which can penetrate and lodge inside the cardiovascular system.
The WHO recommended annual guideline for outdoor PM2.5 is 10 μg/m3.
PM2.5s are linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Globally, air pollution causes about 24% of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and 29% from lung cancer, WHO estimates show.
I returned to the scene below on the 40th day since our publication to see what has happened.
Here’s before and after:
Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana/ 18 December 2018
Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana/ 28 January 2018
I crossed the Odaw River to the Agbogbloshie scrapyard to see how things are going.
Not looking good (see immediate video below).
This has gone on for 20+ years now.
For those who wonder why we haven’t attempted to stop this - we cannot. Private entities rarely influence public policy in developing countries. I’m sure Ghana will be more than happy to spend US or World Banks’s money to attempt to stop this. Ghana certainly wouldn’t put up all the money for it.
So yes, we agree with you, this “primitive” method of metal recovery should not have a place in Accra, especially not anywhere near the center of the capital and its largest open food market.
Curious for more?
See also: Videos and Photos of Agbogbloshie, Ghana
See also: Agbogbloshie and Air Pollution in Accra
See more videos here:
Ghana's "Sodom and Gomorrah" slum near Agbogbloshie
Agbogbloshie - A short film
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