A drone view of Agbogbloshie, the world's largest electronic-waste dump, Accra Ghana.
A new pollution index has declared Accra the world ultimate city of pollution.
All electronic devices contain toxic chemicals which, even if they are recyclable, make it expensive to do so. As a result, illegal dumping has become a lucrative business.
Our cell phones and laptops contain trace amounts of valuable metals like copper and gold. When junked electronics coming from all over the western world are processed by the very poor, in the biggest e-waste dump site in the world, they lead to dangerous levels of pollution. We are in Agbogbloshie dump site outside Accra, the capital of Ghana. Sheathed cables are burnt to get at the copper material inside, often using Styrofoam packaging as fuel. Those cables contain heavy metals like lead, which can migrate from the smoke into the soil. Samples taken from around Agbogbloshie indicate lead levels as high as 18,125 parts per million—as much as 45 times higher than U.S. standards.
Consider this before buying the latest model of your favorite electronic device.
photo Marco Garofalo/2018
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