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A quick glimpse of Agbogbloshie, Ghana's notorious e-waste graveyard, and one of the most toxic environments in the world

 

By Muntaka Chasant | 627 words | Reading time: 2 min

 

 

 Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana by Muntaka Chasant

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ November 2018

 


 

Several studies, including the works of Richard Grant (1) (2), and Jack Caravanos (3), have closely examined the informal "urban mining" of copper and other rare earth metals from electronics at the Agbogbloshie e-waste dump and its environmental and health implications for scrap workers and the city's population.

 

Agbogbloshie is located near the center of Accra, Ghana’s capital city.

 

While mechanical processes such as pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and biometallurgy are often used to recover precious and rare earth metals in other parts of the world, young men at Agbogbloshie use crude methods (see photos & videos below) to remove plastic sheaths off copper wires, releasing a cocktail of highly toxic chemicals into the city's air.

 

Agbogbloshie is also Accra's largest open-air food market.

 

Pure Earth (4) in 2013 rated Agbogbloshie among the world’s top ten most toxic environments, along with places like Chernobyl, the 1986 nuclear accident site in Ukraine, and Dzerzhinsk, Russia’s cold war-era chemical weapons manufacturing city, often described as the most chemically polluted city in the world.

 


 

Scavengers would roam through the streets of Accra by foot, picking electrical waste and e-waste, sometimes from households, where they pay a small fee in exchange for old and unused electronics and wires.

 

The collectors resell these wires to intermediaries, who also resell them to scrap dealers inside the Agbogbloshie scrapyard. The wires and e-waste are turned over to burners (as pictured below) to use 'primitive' methods to recover copper. 

 

See also: Agbogbloshie and Air Pollution in Accra, Ghana

 

This has emerged as a major livelihood strategy in many developing countries, including Ghana.

 

The ''urban mined' copper are resold and exported into the global reprocessing system, where they are used in newer products.

 

Welcome to Agbogbloshie!

 

See also: Air Pollution Killing More People in Ghana

 

 Tangled cables and wires Agbogbloshie Accra Ghana by Muntaka Chasant - ATCMASK.COM

Tangled cables and wires waiting to be harvested for copper. 

 

Agbogbloshie scrapyard, Accra, Ghana/ November 2018

 


Agbogbloshie, Ghana

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ December 2018 

 


Agbogbloshie E-waste Ghana by Muntaka Chasant

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ December 2018 

 


Agbogbloshie, Ghana

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ December 2018 

 


Agbogbloshie, Ghana

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ December 2018

  


Agbogbloshie e-waste urban mining Accra Ghana by Muntaka Chasant - ATCMASK.COM

 

Agbogbloshie scrapyard, Accra, Ghana/ December 2018 

 


Agbogbloshie e-waste urban mining Accra Ghana by Muntaka Chasant - ATCMASK.COM

 

Cooling down freshly harvested copper.

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ November 2018 

 


Agbogbloshie e-waste urban mining Accra Ghana by Muntaka Chasant - ATCMASK.COM

 

Freshly harvested copper.

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ November 2018

 


Agbogbloshie e-waste urban mining Accra Ghana by Muntaka Chasant - ATCMASK.COM 

Even the smallest pieces count.

 

Agbogbloshie e-waste dump, Accra, Ghana/ November 2018

 


Ghana's Sodom and Gomorrah by Muntaka Chasant

The nearby settlement where most of the e-waste workers live with their families.

 

Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana/ 18 December 2018

 


 

Agbogbloshie, Ghana - A short film

 


 

 

"Urban mining" in Accra, Ghana - A short film


 

 

See also: "Urban mining" and Air Pollution in Accra, Ghana

 

See also: "A Quick Glimpse of Ghana's "Sodom and Gomorrah" Slum

 

Please leave your comments below, and let us know what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources


 

1. Grant, R. (2016). The "Urban Mine" in Accra, Ghana. RCC Perspectives, (1), 21-30. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/26241341 (Retrieved December, 2018)

2. Grant, R., & Oteng-Ababio, M. (2016). The Global Transformation of Materials and the Emergence of Informal Urban Mining in Accra, Ghana. Africa Today, 62(4), 3-20. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/africatoday.62.4.01 (Retrieved December, 2018)

3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290519876_Exploratory_Health_Assessment_of_Chemical_Exposures_at_E-Waste_Recycling_and_Scrapyard_Facility_in_Ghana (Retrieved December, 2018)

4. http://www.worstpolluted.org/docs/TopTenThreats2013.pdf (Retrieved December, 2018)

 

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