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Electronics Production | November 24, 2011

Report: Uncontrollable flow of e-waste into Ghana

There is an "uncontrollable flow" of second-hand electronic goods and e-waste into Ghana, where children make up a large portion of scrap workers, according to a new report by makeITfair.

The new report says that 600 containers of second-hand electronics arrive in Ghana each month. The UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Spain are identified as top exporters. According to the report, there is no formal avenue for telling whether the electronics arriving are obsolete and no adequate infrastructure to deal with the hazardous nature of e-waste. "For a small part of the population the import of used electronics is a lucrative business, but for a major of the people involved in the industry it is a matter of survival", the report said. Thousands of people work in the informal waste industry in Ghana and children constitute around 40% of scrap workers at the Agbogbloshie dump-site. The workers often suffer from cuts, coughs, headaches, upper respiratory problems, rashes and burns makeITfair says. There is currently no legislation in Ghana regarding e-waste and the country has only one recycling facility with three workers. MakeITfair is a European wide project on the electronics industry that "aims to inform young consumers about human rights, social and environmental issues along the supply chain".
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