Agbogbloshie E-waste dealers exposed to high toxic metals-Report

June 4, 2014

A study undertaken by the Ghana Health Service, the Hunter College of New York and Green Advocacy Ghana, has revealed that dealers of E-waste at Agbogbloshie in Accra, are exposed to high toxic metals.

According to the study which was conducted between 2011-2012, seven high level toxic metals, including Lead and Iron, are discovered in the blood and urine test of most of the people dealing in E-waste at Agbogbloshie, as compared to porters around the same area.

This was made known by Dr Edith Clarke, Head of Occupational and Environmental Health Department at the Ghana Health Service during a stakeholder’s consultation on E-waste at Agbogboloshi in Accra, which was under the auspices of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

She was speaking on the topic “Assessment of Health Status and effects of exposure to heavy metals on E-waste recyclers at Agbogbloshie”.

Dr Clarke said such exposure to high toxic metals in the body can lead to the damage of the liver and the kidney, including causing cancer.

She indicated that, given the adjacent food market and neighbouring communities around the Agbogbloshie area, the potential for human health impact is substantial, both to workers and local residents.

Dr Clarke said, there is the need for safer work methods to reduce chemical exposure as well as occupational health measures to protect and promote health of workers.

Mr Yaw Amoyaw-Osei, Head of the Green Advocacy Ghana, said it has developed a four-phased proposal to help manage Ghana’s E-waste, and it includes restructuring and formalising the operations of the E-waste dealers at Agbogbloshie, as well as constructing working structures.

He called for more partners to enable Green Ghana implement the proposal to the fullest.

Dr Hogler Till, Deputy Country Director of GIZ, gave the assurance that it will through close partnership, work to halt the pollution at Agbogbloshie.

He said companies such as UT Bank, Accra Brewery and Japan Motors, all located in Agbogbloshie, have pledged to support the programme to address the pollution and provide a better working environment.

Participants at the forum called for the urgent passage of the law on E-waste currently before Parliament, to ensure a quick solution to the menace.

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