Since 2011 I am documenting the e-waste trail and consequences of dumping and improper recycling in different countries. E-waste which is shipped from the western world to places like Ghana, India, China and other impoverished and under developed regions of the world.
The working conditions for man and environment can not be worser. These computers, mobile phones, TV sets and other devices are burned for any valuable metals. Noxious fumes fill the air; lead, cadmium, zinc, chrome, nickel and other chemical substances are emitted and damage the health of all who inhale them: headaches, dizziness, skin rashes and damage to the nervous system are the result. Not to mention the highly toxic residue that contaminates the soil.
According to an United Nations evaluation, up to 50 million tons of toxic electronic waste accumulate annually in the whole world. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the waste collected for recycling is being exported. With the voluntary ratification of the Basel Convention, countries are forbidden by law to further export toxic electronic waste to countries that are not members of the OECD. In order to bypass the conditions of the Basel Convention, sometimes, this waste is declared second-hand-goods or even development aid.
Trading with electronic waste has become a lucrative business in which millions are earned while professional recycling is quite expensive.
Though my budget was very tight my motivation to visit those places was very strong. Our western world does not have or even developed a sense of responsibility for our consumption. The faith in economic growth is insane.