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Some of the children are aware that breaking open junked electronics exposes them to potentially harmful chemicals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Many don't know. No one is deterred.
Yusef Nashedu, 12, has been mining the field for copper for the past three years. He goes to school weekdays and comes here after school. On weekends, he spends all day in the dumpsite.
"Sometimes, I feel sick," Yusef said. "In my body, I can't feel free."
Dressed in short pants, a dirty polo shirt and plastic yellow flip-flops, Yusef shuffles through the jagged debris, stooped over, looking for copper wires.
Some of the children built fires on which they toss large hunks of discarded electronics. The fire melts the plastic, revealing the copper wires inside. The fire also releases toxic fumes.
"We are looking at immense health implications," said Mike Anane, a local environmental activist who frequently visits the Agbogbloshie field to warn the children and adults of the dangers of what they are doing.
"For the kids, we're talking about lowering the IQ as a result of the lead, of the mercury, even the cadmium. It affects the nervous system. These are kids. Their bodies are very vulnerable," Anane said.
It is difficult to trace where the e-waste comes from. Most of it has been shattered or broken into pieces that bear no identifying markings. But among the scattered junk are a few items with labels.
Anane held up computer pieces with decals for the Washington Metro Transit Authority, U.S. Army, State of Connecticut Mental Heath Facility, and other U.S. city, state and federal agencies. According to environmental group Greenpeace, even computers with the label of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were found at the dump.
Originally posted by Desolate Cancer
Oh sorry for giving dirt poor third worlder's an opportunity to make some money. Maybe we should be hiring them to be our lawyers or perform our engineering projects instead, but they dont have that capability.
So instead we send our junk e waste to them to strip and get back the usable parts into the marketplace. Sure robots would be more effective but we dont have that tech yet.
As for the toxins, maybe you would prefer them to be released in your town instead? Or wait maybe you would prefer to pay an extra $200 for a computer knowing that it never gave a poor third wolrder an opportunity to make any money off it. You know strictly assembled, recycled, manufactured by rich westerners never touched by any undesirables.