Monday, May 2, 2011

Permanent Error

In Ghana, there is an expansive dump, comprised of technological waste, the majority of which is shipped in from Western countries. Photographer Pieter Hugo has been documenting this surreal apocalyptic landscape. It's hard to look at these images and not consider our individual culpability and participation in frenzied consumption.

"The UN Environment Program has stated that Western countries produce around 50 million tons of digital waste every year. In Europe, only 25 percent of this type of waste is collected and effectively recycled. Much of the rest is piled in containers and shipped to developing countries, supposedly to reduce the digital divide, to create jobs and help people. In reality, the inhabitants of dumps like Agbogbloshie survive largely by burning the electronic devices to extract copper and other metals out of the plastic used in their manufacture. The electronic waste contaminates rivers and lagoons with consequences that are easily imaginable. In 2008 Green Peace took samples of the burnt soil in Agbogbloshie and found high concentrations of lead, mercury, thallium, hydrogen cyanide and PVC."

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