Alice in Wasteland - Agbogbloshie, the World's Largest Electronic Waste Dump
Let's pretend you are Alice. You have just spotted a rabbit. Your curiosity is triggered. Run after it. Down you slide, through its deep dark tunnel. Where have you found yourself? In an enchanted forest? No, not this time. This time we are taking you to Agbogbloshie, a neighborhood in Accra, next to the famous slum “Sodom and Gomorra”. Why have we brought you here?
Agbogbloshie is the graveyard of all old electronics and one of the biggest dumps in the world. While we would all like our electronics to be recycled, they instead are shipped to Ghana, where they are passed off as second hand goods. Very quickly, millions of tons of old computers, sound systems, refrigerators, phones, hairdryers (…anything, name anything electric, and you’ll find it here) break down, are discarded and end up on the edge of what used to be a river.
Young unemployed people see opportunities for themselves on the dump and spend days, months, years burning the old electronics to extract valuable parts. It is a micro system of its own, that works destructively. Typical health problems from burning this type of waste include headaches, insomnia and even cancer. What are we going to do about it? How can we even start to talk about sustainability when we live in a world where a part of Accra can turn into the world's electronic waste dump?
Perhaps you would like to drop your ideas in our hello box!