The shocking pictures below by Andrew McConnell were taken at the Agbogbloshie dump in Accra, Ghana. It’s a place where much of the discarded computer equipment and other electronics from the United States, Europe and other countries ends up. Over 3,000 people live here, in the slums, and they make their living by burning this electronic waste to salvage small pieces of metals and other material they can hopefully sell. On a good day, a person might find $2 worth of scraps.
The whole area is polluted beyond belief. Toxins like lead; cadmium and mercury in this area are in concentrations greater than 100 times what is considered normal. Black smoke can be seen for miles, and the nearby river has computer keyboards and other electronics floating in it. Children walk through the waste without shoes and search in the burning metal with their bare hands to hopefully find something they can sell.
Jim Puckett is the executive director of the Basal Action Network, which monitors electronic waste around the globe. He said, “It’s the only part of the world where you’ll go and see thousands of women on any given day that are sitting… basically cooking printed circuit boards. As a result, they’re breathing all of the brominated flame-retardants. You smell it in the air. You get headaches as soon as you enter this area. It really is quite sad.” Apparently hundreds of containers leave North America every day full of electronic waste. Once those containers are delivered to the recyclers in Ghana, and they have gone through it all to salvage what they can, it gets dumped here to be burned. This is sad beyond belief.