Ghana: Incoming e-Waste a Growing Problem

e-Waste in Accra, Ghana, November 2009

Keyboards dumped at Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana. Copyright BAN 2009.

The Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana just published their “e-Waste Country Assessment,” based on actual data from Customs authorities, field visits and meetings with key stakeholders — that is, from credible, in-country, official sources. You can access a copy here.

Ghana reports that at least 35% (and perhaps much more) of imported, second-hand electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) is non-functioning, most of that coming from the EU and the USA. Some is repairable — but fails soon and adds to Ghana’s growing e-Waste crisis.

The functioning equipment does create opportunities. But the dumping and burning of the rest results in serious consequences on the environment and a threat to public health. “Even children, sometimes as young as 5 years old, were observed to be involved in the recovery of materials from WEEE recycling, earning less than US $20 per month.”

Again, from the report: “Currently there is no infrastructure available for the environmentally sound disposal of the hazardous fraction from WEEE.”