Is Africa the western world’s dumping ground? | Infrastructure news

Electronic waste from Australia was recently found at Agbogbloshie landfill site halfway across the world in Ghana.

ABC reported that a computer screen was being pulled apart by children as young as five at the site. According to the report, children in Ghana are said to “tear apart e-waste from western nations with their hands, and burn circuit boards over open fires to melt out the precious metals”.

It is illegal to ship broken computers out of Australia as the e-waste is considered hazardous.

The computer was founded with a St George Bank label on it. The bank is owned by Westpac, and the company claims to have ‘gold standard environmental stewardship’.

The computer was discovered during a routine visit from Mike Anane, a Ghanaian environmental reporter. The routine check at the site monitors the health and welfare of children working at there, which ABC said was “considered to be the worst dump in the world”.

Anane said that over 500 container loads of electronic waste come from developed countries, “including Australia, every single month”.

He added that he sees almost three container loads of electronic waste coming from Australia every single month. “It is not just immoral, it is criminal to ship these things here,” he said.

In the report, Anane also said that exposing the children to e-waste was “life-threatening”.

He said every time he goes to the dump he is met with ill children who have skin diseases and open wounds.

“They tell me, ‘We cannot run, I have a problem with my heart, my heart beats faster, I cannot play football, I have headaches all the time,’” Anane said.

“It’s obvious that these children will not live to see their 20th birthday,” he added. “A lot of the kids disappear from the dumps and it’s obvious what happens to them.”

The report indicated that Australia, which is one of the biggest consumers of electronics in the world, produces almost 600,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.

The company was reached for comment however Westpac did not agree to further interviews about the integrity of its e-waste disposal chain, or how the computer ended up at the Ghanaian landfill site.

Source: ABC

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