EDITORIAL: Agbogbloshie: Portraits at the end of E-Waste: 20151218_Fortune_Ewaste_0603b

Agbogbloshie, Ghana | December 18, 2015Yaro, the self-styled leader of a band of migrant teens, poses in front of the copper burning grounds in the Agbogbloshie dump site. His pants are held up by a frayed jump rope, and his {quote}Freakish{quote} t-shit was printed with cigarette boxes and ironic phrase {quote}You are going to die anyways.{quote} Yaro and his gang are part of a distinct pecking order in the dump - where men and teens burn the plastic, rubber and metal off of manufactured parts made of copper. First there are the buyers of the waste, men who cart in used computers, automobiles and any other junk they can get their hands on. In turn this manufactured garbage is sold to small {quote}storefronts{quote} in the dump that distribute it to the younger men to burn. Below that strata of employment are the boys that walk through the debris fields picking up the copper remains hoping to collect enough to fill a kilo bag. The resulting raw copper is sold back to construction and mineral component wholesalers, which reintroduce the recycled copper back into the world market. Once a wetland suburb of Accra, Agbogbloshie is home to a vast dumping ground - once labeled the world's largest e-waste site - that covers an unstable swamp, the garbage and soot a carpet that sways with every step, sometimes swallowing new migrants who arrived hoping to make a slim income to feed themselves each day.

Agbogbloshie, Ghana | December 18, 2015

Yaro, the self-styled leader of a band of migrant teens, poses in front of the copper burning grounds in the Agbogbloshie dump site. His pants are held up by a frayed jump rope, and his "Freakish" t-shit was printed with cigarette boxes and ironic phrase "You are going to die anyways." Yaro and his gang are part of a distinct pecking order in the dump - where men and teens burn the plastic, rubber and metal off of manufactured parts made of copper.

First there are the buyers of the waste, men who cart in used computers, automobiles and any other junk they can get their hands on. In turn this manufactured garbage is sold to small "storefronts" in the dump that distribute it to the younger men to burn. Below that strata of employment are the boys that walk through the debris fields picking up the copper remains hoping to collect enough to fill a kilo bag. The resulting raw copper is sold back to construction and mineral component wholesalers, which reintroduce the recycled copper back into the world market.

Once a wetland suburb of Accra, Agbogbloshie is home to a vast dumping ground - once labeled the world's largest e-waste site - that covers an unstable swamp, the garbage and soot a carpet that sways with every step, sometimes swallowing new migrants who arrived hoping to make a slim income to feed themselves each day.