- It has emerged that thousands of tons of electronic gadgets being manufactured in Europe and North America end up in Africa as e-waste
- Poverty and increasing demand for electronic devices such as laptops in the region is cited as one of the contributing factors. Ghana is mentioned as one of the countries with the largest pile of e-waste in the world
-Environmental activists and health experts are not happy, and here is the chilling reason why
New report indicates that most developed countries that produce massive tons of electronic gadgets such as laptops, television screens, and mobile phones have turned developing countries, especially in Africa, into dumping site for electronic wastes.
The e-wastes are reportedly shipped from places like Europe and North America for dumping in African countries where such gadgets are in high demand.
Among the most affected developing countries is Ghana. Here, they reportedly have one of the biggest pile of old computers, mobile phones, TV screens and laptops on earth.
The disturbing site is located in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. You can see workers picking up old and tattered electronic parts like motherboards, metals and copper wires and burning plastic casings, which in turn fill the air with toxic fumes.
Previousl reports show that every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of e-waste find their way to Ghana from Europe and North America, where they are stripped of their valuable metals in the crudest form of recycling.
For many in this country, it has become a lucrative business. This is because almost a quarter of the population is said to be living below the poverty line.
"It's an instant job for us. Today you work on it, and you can get your money the same day," says Sam Sandu, one of the scrap dealers in the city.
But experts warn that the toxins present in the e-wastes are slowing poisoning the workers, as well as spreading pollution into the soil and atmosphere.
"Mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, these are the four most toxic substances in the world, and they are found in e-waste residues in very large quantities," says Atiemo Sampson, an environmental researcher at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.
Going by the International Labour Organisation report, long term health studies on e-waste workers are yet to be done, and there is still limited data on the number of people who have fallen ill or died as a result of working with e-wastes.
However, the organisation also agrees that exposure to the toxic chemicals can cause wide range of health complications including cancer and respiratory illnesses.
Watch video of e-waste dumping site in Ghana: