Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Poison of Profits

More than 200 million people around the world are at risk of exposure to toxic waste, a report has concluded. The authors say the large number of people at risk places toxic waste in a similar league to public health threats such as malaria and tuberculosis.

The study identified the Agbobloshie dumping yard in Ghana's capital Accra as the place which poses the highest toxic threat to human life. The researchers say that the report has not been hidden from governments, and they are all aware of the issue. Agbobloshie has become a global e-waste dumping yard, causing serious environmental and health issues Dr Caravanos explained. The study says that "a range of recovery activities takes place in Agbobloshie, each presenting unique occupational and ecological risks".

As the second largest e-waste processing area in West Africa, Ghana annually imports around 215,000 tonnes of second hand consumer electronics from abroad, particularly from Western Europe, and generates another 129,000 tons of e-waste every year.

The study warns that that Ghana's e-waste imports will double by 2020. At the Agbobloshie site, the study found the presence of lead in soil at very high levels, posing serious potential health and environment hazards to more than 250,000 people in the vicinity.

The World Health Organization, in conjunction with the World Bank, estimates that 23% of the deaths in the developing world are attributable to environmental factors, including pollution, and that environmental risk factors contribute to more than 80% of regularly reported illnesses according to the report.

No comments: