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GREEN AFRICA: Electronic Waste Management Strategies

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E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life." Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, refrigerators, cell phones, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products have notoriously short shelf lives. Although they can be reused, refurbished, or recycled, unfortunately improper electronic discards is frequent -- causing one of the fastest growing environmental problems in developing countries.  An estimate of 50 million tons of waste from discarded electronic goods is generated annually.

In Kenya, for example, the annual estimates of e-waste include 11,400 tones from refrigerators, 2,800 tones from TVs, 2,500 tones from PCs and 150 tons from mobile phones. The Basel Convention prevents the transfrontier shipment of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries. Only three countries, the United States, Afghanistan and Haiti, have never ratified the convention. Each month, cargo containers arrive in Agbogbloshie, one of the largest electronic waste processing sites near Accra, often illegally, from countries all over the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan. Unprotected workers, many of them young children, spend the day searching for metals to sell, usually by burning the electronics and dismantling them with their bare hands.

The waste processing emits toxic chemicals into the air, land and water. Exposure is especially hazardous, as these toxins are known to inhibit the development of the reproductive system, the nervous system and the brain. 

GREEN AFRICA

The show is brought to you by Amandla News and African Views (AV).

Host: Ernest K. Opong
Contributor: Wasiu Alade
Contributor:  Emekop Ebuk
Producer and Director: Wale Idris Ajibade
Quality control: William A. Verdone

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