September 19, 2011

Where mobiles and computers go to die. The Hardware Scavengers of Ghana

245132.jpeg Agbogbloshie, just west of downtown Accra, the capitol of Ghana, is one of the places where electronics go to die. Mobile phones, computers, monitors. Some item of value can be scavenged from almost any piece of electronics. The Atlantic reports via @Ken Banks.

quotemarksright.jpgThe young men who work the dump pull and recycle the metals, particularly copper, out of old electronics. They break down electronics with hammers and hands, mostly to pull out the metals inside of them, which they sell to local businesses.

You have to admire the resilience of these kids, who've come up with a way to make a living on the margins of society. But it's a tough, nasty business. If they need to separate rubber from copper, they burn it, so they inhale the fumes day after day. Many live in Agbogbloshie, so they're exposed to all the chemicals in the e-waste that moves through the place. These kids are shortening their lives, but they don't have any other options.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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