This is not a happy story to start your Monday with. That TV or computer you put out for recycling, feeling all eco-friendly? It's killing children in Ghana.
SBS Dateline ran a story last night on the illegal dumping of e-waste in Ghana, and its effect on the environment there. So the story alleges, many electronic goods, including waste from Australia that’s legally meant to be responsibly recycled is instead being shipped off-shore under the guise of being working second-hand products. Instead, they’re broken down by children who search through tonnes of waste -- the story states that some 500 containers of e-waste arrive every month -- for the recyclable wiring. The waste that can’t be scavenged by children is burnt, releasing toxins into the air. That’d be the air that the children scavenging for copper have to breathe, as well as the food supplies for the entire city. Everyone’s getting poisoned, in other words.
The full video is here. It’s not easy watching, but it’s quite vital and compelling.
According to the release sent out by SBS, an investigation has begun into the e-waste shipments scam, noting that
As a result of Dateline’s investigation to be shown on SBS on Sunday night, the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPAC), with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection, has launched an investigation into exportation of e-waste from Australia to Ghana, and is also undertaking a review of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989.