When we drop our old computers off to be recycled we assume this will be done in an appropriate and environmentally safe manner, but e-waste is expensive to recycle and a shadow trade has developed around it. Computers, monitors, and cell phones are dumped by the millions of tons and shipped around the globe by numerous middlemen. The Guardian published a photo essay on e-waste dumping in Ghana.
“Photographer Kevin McElvaney documents Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in Accra, Ghana, which is home to the world’s largest e-waste dumping site. Boys and young men smash devices to get to the metals, especially copper. Injuries, such as burns, untreated wounds, eye damage, lung and back problems, go hand in hand with chronic nausea, anorexia, debilitating headaches and respiratory problems. Most workers die from cancer in their 20s”