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The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-Use and Abuse to Africa

19.02.2007
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The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-Use and Abuse to Africa

The photo-documentary report entitled “ The Digital Dump: Exporting High-Tech Re-use and Abuse to Africa,” exposes the ugly underbelly of what is thought to be an escalating global trade in toxic, obsolete, discarded computers and other e-scrap collected in North America and Europe and sent to developing countries by waste brokers and so-called recyclers.

In Lagos, while there is a legitimate robust market and ability to repair and refurbish old electronic equipment including computers, monitors, TVs and cell phones, the local experts complain that of the estimated 500 40-foot containers shipped to Lagos each month, as much as 75% of the imports are “junk” and are not economically repairable or marketable. Consequently, this e-waste, which is legally a hazardous waste is being discarded and routinely burned in what the environmentalists call yet “another “cyber-age nightmare now landing on the shores of developing countries.”

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