Ghana's hazardous e-waste: How the health risks posed by discarded mobile phones increase


A 2019 United Nations report estimated that approximately 50 million tonnes of electronic waste are discarded annually, and this number is expected to double by 2050.

Interestingly, it is claimed that only 20% of e-waste is recycled appropriately. A significant portion of the remainder is improperly disposed of or ends up in landfills.

In Ghana, the use of mobile phones has become an increasingly important part of everyday life and business.

Sadly, these devices have lifespans, so they won't last forever. Some people sell their old phones to scrap dealers, who burn them to extract valuable metals, while others put their phones in garbage cans.

Concerns have been expressed, and the methods by which mobile phones can be disposed of once they have outlived their usefulness are being considered.

When my phone becomes obsolete, I throw it away. A user informed me, "I place these phones in a small box in my house."

One more said, "when I can't fix the telephone by any means, I just put it down for the piece delaers to coe for it. Additionally, we dispose of it in the garbage cans.

After that, I got in touch with some phone repairmen, and they told me that they sell phones that can't be fixed to scrap dealers at lower prices.

The purchase of mobile phone electronic waste is a thriving business in Agbogbloshie, Accra, which is known as the center of the scrap industry.

After purchasing the damaged phones from their owners, the scrap dealers gather them and begin sorting them.

They extract the metals – including copper, lead, gold, and silver threads – from the wire insulation of mobile phones and other electronic devices by burning it. These metals are then sold to recycling businesses.

Mercury, lead, cadmium, antimony, beryllium, and others are among them.

Minerals like gold, silver, iron and others are additionally found in e-squander - and these are found in parts like utilized batteries, switches, motherboards and links.

Residents' health is seriously harmed as a result of the toxic smoke that is released into the air as a result of the burning process used to extract the metals for sale.

"We buy phones that have been called "condemned," take off the covers, give some parts to the Igbo people, and they take out the motherboards and throw away the empty covers."

The wires contain copper. We burn the wires to remove the insulation so that we can obtain the copper. That is the main means to get what we need - the metals," a piece vendor, Ibrahim, made sense of.

In Agbogbloshie, over 90% of the management of electronic waste is done haphazardly, which releases pollutants into the air, soil, and even groundwater.

Government prior recovered the region trying to actually look at the piece business to moderate the adverse consequences of their work on the climate.

In spite of some of these interventions, e-waste burning and improper disposal are still widespread in Agbogbloshie.

Agbogbloshie contained some of the world's most dangerous chemicals, according to a recent report from environmental groups Ipen and the Basel Action Network.

One egg that came from a free-range chicken in Agbogbloshie was 220 times higher than the limits set by the European Food Safety Authority for chlorinated dioxins, which can damage the immune system and cause cancer.

ALSO READ: How to Create an Email Newsletter That Converts Well Scrap dealer Ibrahim acknowledges that their work has a negative impact on their health, but he quickly adds that it is the only way to get what they want out of electronic waste.

We are unable to complete our work unless we burn the phone wires. We haven't been given machines to extract or even recycle the metals. We have been told by doctors that smoking can harm our health, but that is our only option,” he continued.

Burns, back issues, and infected wounds are among the workers' most common health concerns. These individuals also suffer from chronic nausea, debilitating headaches, and respiratory issues.

Consumers and players would continue to determine what happens to products that have outlived their usefulness if there was no regulation to monitor this industry.

A global environmental facility project is being carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to build a value chain for the e-waste industry, from collection to recycling.

As per the Appointee Head of the E-squander unit, Larry Kotoe, the $37.89 million award has been gotten through the World Bank for Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Senegal to - in addition to other things - do whatever it takes to address the e-squander challenge.

The safe collection, transportation, and recycling of e-waste are also expected to benefit from this project.

The nation needs to come up with a safer and cleaner method for getting rid of all of this electronic junk now.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post