Answer to Question #166788 in Management for Benedictus

Question #166788

Agbogbloshie is notorious for its electronic waste which has made the area heavily polluted. As a student of Environmental Management:

1. List and explain the various types of pollution prevalent in the Agbogbloshie area. 

2. Explain the causal factors of the prevailing pollution in the area.

3. List and explain the effects of the pollution on the environment and human health

4. Suggest five ways of Addressing the menace in the Agbogblosie enclave.

Expert's answer

1.     Types of pollution prevalent in Agbogbloshie area

·        Soil pollution – When electronic waste breaks down, it releases toxic heavy metals such as lead, beryllium, cadmium and arsenic. Agbogbloshie area has been found to have elevated levels of lead in the land. When toxic materials leach into the soil, they negatively affect plants and thus the human food supply.

·        Air pollution – E-waste dump in Agbogbloshie region irregularly burned in open air or incinerated to harness wires from copper waste. This process releases hydrocarbon and toxic chemicals like lead and dioxins, thus degrading the quality of the air.

·        Water pollution – Disposal of e-waste on landfill in Agbogbloshie area finds its way into underground water, which flows to water bodies. E-waste discharged into the water is a potential environmental hazard because lead, tin, glass dust, dioxins, mercury, beryllium and other toxins interfere with the quality of water in water sources.

2.     Causal factors of the prevailing pollution

·        Upgrade and innovation in technology: There is an increase in global demand for electronic equipment and constant innovations in the technology industry. Consumers are therefore forced to upgrade their devices and dispose of older ones. Also, shifting consumer lifestyles are resulting in a large number of end-of-life electronics.

·        Informal recycling in the dump: The informal sector has greatly contributed to the environmental pollution prevalent in Agbogbloshie through illegal e-waste recycling. Crude methods of e-waste recycling such as open burning, incarceration, acid bath, dismantling etc. release toxic heavy metals and volatile compounds to the environment.

·        Poor e-waste management practices: The processing and dumping of e-waste in Agbogbloshie is a serious environmental concern that has not been fully tended to. The region has been an illegal ground for environmental dumping of electronic wastes imported as secondhand electronics. Thus, there has been poor handling measures and lack of a sustainable e-management policy in the country.

3.     Effects of the pollution on the environment and human health

·        A toxicological consequence of water pollution in Agbogbloshie through contamination of marine systems has been imbalance in the ecosystem due to disrupted natural ecology. High eutrophication levels in water bodies such as Korle Lagoon have resulted in flooding in various parts of Accra. There is also a serious threat to aquatic life in these water bodies due to suppressed levels of dissolved oxygen as a result of the contamination.  

·        Human exposure to hazardous substances present in e-waste at Agbogbloshie has led to several health hazards, some fatal. These include: reproductive issues, damage to immune system, skin ailments, damage to nervous system, developmental problems, kidney damage, respiratory diseases, chronic beryllium disease, interference with regulatory hormone among others.

·        High carcinogenic levels in the ground, water and air caused by toxic heavy metals have led to a dramatic increase in cancer cases in Accra.

4.     Ways of addressing the menace

·        By establishing a green and efficient recycling system at Agbogbloshie to mitigate the environmental hazard caused by illegal recycling of e-waste in the region.

·        By establishing a health clinic for workers in the Agbogbloshie dump who are extensively exposed to the hazardous working environment but have no access to healthcare.

·        Ghana should enforce stricter laws and policies to govern its environment preservation in order to curb the illegal dumping of e-waste that is imported in the form of secondhand electronics.

·        The country should also introduce sustainable e-waste management in Agbogbloshie and the rest of Ghana by creating green e-waste programs that ensure safe disposal of electronic waste.

·        By improving the economic conditions and the general sanitary conditions around Agbogbloshie. The informal sector working in the dump is largely driven by immediate livelihood needs at the expense of health safety. 

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Razak Malikiya
28.02.21, 23:36

Well said thank you

27.02.21, 01:06

Good work done

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