The BBC is tackling the issue of illegal electronic waste dumping in a documentary that sees presenter Reggie Yates travel to ‘the most toxic place on earth’.
In the first episode of ‘The Insider’ series, Reggie Yates travels to Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana where he stays on one of the largest electronic waste dumps in the world, working with a group of young men who are trying to make a living by selling the copper that is extracted by burning electronic waste. These so-called ‘burner boys’ are at risk of serious health problems from inhalation of fumes, including toxic radiation. Unregulated stripping and disposal of e-waste can also result in dangerous chemicals like nickel, cadmium, mercury, and lead being released into the atmosphere.
The illegal dumping of hazardous electronic waste is a global problem. A report released by the UN Environment Programme in 2015 estimated that up to 90 per cent of the 41 million tonnes of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) produced each year is illegally traded or dumped. The report found that Africa and Asia are key destinations for large-scale shipments of hazardous wastes for dumping, and Ghana is one of the largest recipients of e-waste shipments in West Africa.
E-waste is now one of the biggest forms of illegal waste trafficking, with estimations that it is worth as much as £14bn annually. UNEP says that inconsistency in regulations between exporting and importing countries, including what is classified as hazardous or contaminated waste, makes it difficult to effectively combat illegal waste trafficking.
‘A week in a Toxic Waste Dump’ can be viewed on BBC iPlayer.
If your business manufactures, imports or rebrands electrical or electronic goods in the UK then you must comply with the UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations. Our approved WEEE compliance scheme helps businesses to meet the regulations, with unrivalled member support, cost-effective packages and a variety of membership categories for all producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). We are proud to be an ethical business and do not support the export of WEEE.