Agbogbloshie: the polluted African shame

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Agbogbloshie: the polluted African shame

Agbogbloshie, located in the Accra region of Ghana, is the second largest e-waste processing area in West Africa. The urban agglomeration covers about four acres and is located on the banks of the Korle Lagoon, in the west of the city.

The inhabitants of the area are about 40,000, mostly from rural areas of the country. Due to the difficult living conditions and rampant crime, the area is nicknamed Sodom and Gomorra. The locality is known for the presence of a site that hosts a large electronic and technological waste dump, where materials from developed Western countries converge, the result of legal or illegal imports.

The accumulated material is the object of intense exploitation by the local population, engaged in the recycling of metals, such as copper, which retain a certain value. Millions of tons of technological waste every year.

However, the activity of recycling such waste entails problems of environmental impact, since the people who draw from the landfill extract the metals by setting fire to the abandoned pieces to eliminate the plastic parts.

The result is a considerable pollution of the environment due to the fumes released by the fires. The situation is made even worse by the fact that the land surrounding the landfill is used as residential settlements and for grazing livestock.

Around 215,000 tons of refrigerators, cell phones, TVs and microwave ovens arrive here every year. Of these, around 129,000 tons remain in Agbogbloshie to be disposed of. A process with a high ecological impact, given the presence of toxic materials.

One above all, lead. Samples taken in this area show levels of lead in the soil 45 times higher than the standard set by the American Environmental Protection Agency. At risk, the report denounces, the health of 250,000 residents in the area.

Video by RT Documentary

Rio Tinto: how pollution has produced an incredible mutation

Rio Tinto is a river in southwestern Spain, which originates in the Sierra Morena mountains in Andalusia. It follows a south / southwestern course, reaching the Gulf of Cadiz near the city of Huelva.

Tinto stands out for its high acidity of its waters (pH 2.2), and a deep reddish hue, caused by dissolved iron. Acidity leads to serious environmental problems due to the heavy metal concentrations in the river. Visitors are drawn here to see its eye-catching colors, but those who think about swimming in the vibrant waters should think again.

The chemical nature of Rio Tinto is the result of extreme mineral pollution, with heavy metals - including gold, silver and copper - present in the water in significant proportions. The result is a harsh environment that is not conducive to life.

The Rio Tinto area has been the source of approximately 5,000 years of ore mining, including copper, silver, gold, and other minerals, extracted as far as 20 kilometres from the river shores.

Rio Tinto: how pollution has produced an incredible mutation

As a possible result of the mining, the Río Tinto is notable for being very acidic (pH 2) and its deep reddish hue is due to iron dissolved in the water.

Acid mine drainage from the mines leads to severe environmental problems because the acidity (low pH) dissolves heavy metals into the water. It is not clear how much acid drainage has come from natural processes and how much has come from mining.

There are severe environmental concerns over the pollution in the river. There is not much to experience here, and those who do venture put their health at risk. Dangerous bacteria thrive in these conditions, and while the river can be pleasant to watch, bathing should be strictly avoided.

Several hundred years ago on the banks of the river, veins of gold, silver, copper, etc. were searched in the open. As a result of those works, several quarries of strange shapes were dug and the Rio Tinto absorbed toxic acids and metals.

Already the Carthaginians began the extraction of metals on the banks of the Rio Tinto which caused water pollution. No fish live in the river, it is forbidden to swim. The reduction of cultivation only began in 1930. The unusual color is due to the high acid content that attracts numerous tourists to the banks of the Rio Tinto. Microorganisms that eat minerals and iron have recently been discovered in the Rio Tinto.