Agbogbloshie is the name of probably the most famous e-waste dump, pictured in several documentaries. It’s located in Accra, capital of Ghana, and it’s the home of 40.000 people.
85% of electronics imported into Ghana come from Europe. The amount of e-waste treated is estimated to be 171.000 tons/year.
In the dumps only men work. Specially, young men between 11 and 18. There are three categories of work done: collecting, recycling, and refurbishing. Around 6.000 are collectors and earn $70-$140/month. Around 15.000 people are recyclers and refurbishers, earning $175-$285/month. Their daily shift goes from 8 to 12 hours.
Most of the workers originate in the North of the country, and have left agriculture in order to have a faster way to have cash, and be able to send it to their families.
In Ghana there is no chemical recycling activity. Instead it’s very visible the cable burning.
There is a small formal e-waste recycling sector. But this companies find it difficult to compete against informal recycling for several reasons, among which: informal recyclers can pay a small amount for the e-waste they remove from the houses; formal recyclers need to take care of the hazardous substances, while informal recyclers just dump them.
Our full document on e-waste in Ghana can be access from here, and commented via GoogleDocs.