Online film shines a light on Ghana's e-waste problem
- Published on 06 May 2012
The film, entitled e-wasteland, tells the story of how e-waste ends up in Ghana and the impact that un-regulated recycling of these materials has on the country.
Ghana has a big e-waste problem, as a report released by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) this year said that in 2009 around 70% of all electronic imports to the country were used, while the remaining 30% was determined to be non-functioning, ending up as e-waste.
“People from the poorer northern regions of Ghana are forced to make a small living by salvaging and recycling e-waste,” said e-wasteland filmmaker, David Fedele.
However, Fedele said that due to a lack of proper infrastructure and sustainable management of e-waste devices, almost all collected material will reach the informal recycling sector.
“Materials such as copper, brass and aluminium are recycled and the method used to recycle these products is to burn them, resulting in a release of toxic fumes into the air,” said Fedele.
Fedele says this method of recycling has added to the e-waste problem experienced in West African countries, as it exposes many people who recycle to ill health.
UNEP lists the burning of cable, which happens in almost all countries in West Africa, as one with the most direct and severe impact on human health. Cable burning is regarded a major source of dioxin emissions, which damage lungs and blood cells increasing the risk of cancers and brain development.
You can watch the video below.