On the E-Waste Trail
September 26, 2014
Each month, several hundred containers of e-waste from consuming countries in the West arrive in Agbogbloshie, a former fishing village in Accra, Ghana, which has become one of the world's largest e-waste dumps, causing pollution and irreparable environmental damage.
Every year, up to 50 million tons of electronic waste - computers, television sets, mobile phones, household appliances - are discarded in the developed world. Since recycling is costly, around 75 percent of this waste is shipped to countries like India, China or Ghana, where it is dumped illegally, polluting the environment and affecting the lives of those forced to live with it.
Mike Anane grew up near Agbogbloshie and is one of Ghana's most experienced environmental journalists. In this film, he investigates the growing illegal e-waste trail from Europe to Africa and Asia, confronting the failing systems of control.
The investigation begins in Europe - the UK, Spain, France, Germany, and Brussels - takes us to Asia - Hong Kong, China - and to the US, finally ending in Agbogbloshie, to reveal how large amounts of e-waste are diverted from the legal recycling circuits, using false paperwork and facilitated by many of those in the know turning a blind eye.
The film also shows how the irresponsible 'urban mining' of e-waste in Asian dumpsites is flaunting health and safety regulations and creating unexpected problems for the manufacturers of new electronics. And it shows how the new consumers in developing countries are exacerbating the problem by adding their own e-waste to the illegal imports.
By Cosima Dannoritzer