Old computers and harddisks are dumped in Ghana by the West. Disguised as donations, hundreds of thousands tons of e-waste are shipped to Ghana annually, just because recycling the waste is too expensive for the Western countries. It’s easier an cheaper to dump it in developing countries that are not aware of its potential danger.
Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Accra is known to be the world largest dumping ground for legal en illegal e-waste by industrialized nations. In Agbogbloshie, young kids dismantle e-waste to extract copper and other metals to sell. The processing of these electronic waste presents serious health issues, because of the high toxic chemicals. They often inhale high levels of led and other chemicals during the burning process.
Now and then, young workers discover functional computer hard drives which they are able to sell to local shop owners. Every aspect of the electronic memory can be re-used: IP addresses, digital information, hard-drive codes… It is as if the souls of the technology’s previous owners linger and are reborn. Continents may be far apart, but theft can be committed in one click of a mouse. What comes as a blessing for one, becomes a curse for another.