photography and multimedia journalism association

The World's Largest E-Waste Dump

Once upon a time the Korle Lagoon, Accra, Ghana, was a pristine wetland. Its waters used to be a home for thousands of fish and sea turtles, its mangroves a refuge for migratory birds escaping European winter.

Nowadays, placed in the heart of Accra Agbogblosie, a shanty town that settled on the banks of the Korle Lagoon in 1980s, it is a refuge for migrants escaping poverty in rural areas and the world's largest dump for used electronics coming from Europe and other industrialized zones. There are  70,000 people living on a massive pile of a rotting trash - one of the world's top ten worst polluted places according to the Blacksmith Institute's index.

Electronic goods contain toxic chemicals that make their recycling dirty and expensive. As a result, the illegal dumping of e-waste has become a lucrative business. Although the Basel Convention forbids export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries, Ghana imports 215,000 tons of e-waste a year. Exporters label containers as second-hand electronics and donations. In fact, at least 50 percent of the load is trash.

Globally, about 40-50 million tons of e-waste are generated each year. No wonder, a lifespan of a PC or a cell phone is similar to that of a tropical cockroach and lasts less then two years.

Text and photographs by Przemysław Kozłowski / TESTIGO Documentary