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Export of e-waste into Ghana ‘uncontrollable’

Ghana – There is an ‘uncontrollable’ flow of second-hand electronic goods and e-waste into Ghana where children make up a large proportion of scrap workers, according to a new report by makeITfair – a Europe-wide project in the electronics industry that aims to inform young consumers about human rights, as well as social and environmental issues, along the supply chain.

The report claims that 600 containers of second-hand electronics arrive in Ghana each month, with the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Spain identified as the 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 majority of the people involved in the industry, it is a matter of survival,’ it states.

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, according to makeITfair. There is currently no legislation in Ghana regarding e-waste and the country has only one recycling facility with three workers.

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