17 Feb, 2020
Thousands of Ghana citizens at risk of cancer and a multi-generational health crisis due to toxic waste. Ghana has become one of the world’s largest dumping grounds for electronic waste, creating a deadly industry that has put thousands at risk of health issue such as cancer.
The scrapyard of electronics near Ghana’s capital, Accra, has left the surrounding region contaminated with hazardous toxins that polluted the environment and started creating serious health problems for residents. It is estimated that around 200,000 tons of the globe’s discarded electronics find their way to one city in Accra.
According to a study conducted by environmental network groups, IPEN and the Basel Action Network, they discovered that long-term exposure to the hazardous fumes could lead to serious health problems, including cancer or harm to the immune and neurological systems.
The researchers further found that deadly toxins are already in the food chain. Chickens that forage near the highly contaminated soil around the massive dump have absorbed the waste into their systems – exposing humans who eat them, or their eggs, to serious health risks. The pollutants have also been detected in breast milk, meaning that the toxins are being passed on to the workers’ children.
Unknowingly to many, the environmental and health issues that could easily span generation and unfortunately, there is no visible or notable signals that the massive dump is going anywhere.
“The scrapyard growth and the amount of the e-waste… is increasing year-to-year; so, if nothing will be done, the problem will only be bigger and a larger population can be affected by the overall contamination of the site and its surroundings,” Jindrich Petrlik, a co-author of the environmental study, told Ruptly.