E-waste interventions in Ghana

Rev Environ Health. 2016 Mar;31(1):145-8. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2015-0047.

Abstract

Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) has become an emerging environmental and human health problem in the world in the 21st century. Recently, the developing nations of West Africa (e.g. Ghana and Nigeria) have become a major destination for e-waste worldwide. In Ghana, the e-waste recyclers use primitive methods (mechanical shredding and open burning) to remove plastic insulation from copper cables. This technique can release highly toxic chemicals and severely affect the environment and human health if improperly managed. It is as a result of the adverse impact on human health that some interventions are being made in Ghana to reduce exposure. The present mode of recycling/dismantling, which happens at Agbogbloshie must be replaced by official receiving/recycling centers to be established. Currently, equipment to strip both large and small cables are available in the country via the Blacksmith Institute (USA) and it is expected that the e-waste workers will embrace the use of these machines. This technology will go a long way to help prevent the burning of e-waste and will be replicated in other smaller e-waste centers in the country.

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries*
  • Electronic Waste / analysis*
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Recycling
  • Waste Management / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Waste Management / methods*