Europe (and INTERPOL) Focus Still Explained by "Strategic Metals"?

INTERPOL announced 30 days of "recycling crime" enforcement this week.

On this I will give them points - They are targeting automobile "recycling crime" and waste exports, and not as many of the photos seem to show reuse or Tech Sector imports. I believe Fair Trade Recycling (WR3A) has been effective in reducing the enforcement agency's obsession with "e-waste exports".

The photo of lead-zinc ore for sale from Africa's most toxic mine (Kabwe in Zambia) is apparently legal.  There's no law targeting the most toxic activity on the planet, because it isn't "waste"... so there is no fetish attached to it.

I love INTERPOL's focus on tigers and elephants and shark fins and ocean dumping. I'm enthusiastic about illegal forestry and charcoal trade. But what explains INTERPOL's strange obsession with recycling, when MINING is so much worse for Africans and the planet?

Mining lead-zinc ore from Africa's forests, for sale to Asia and Europe, is legal.

But it is apparently not legal for Africans to buy back scrap metal?

Another EU EWaste Documentary: E-Life by Ed Scott-Clarke (Teaser)

Have only seen the E-Life Youtube trailer so far.  Ed Scott-Clarke did respond to my email and suggested I wait to see the documentary.  So... this is only a review of the trailer. A teaser of the teaser (I'll review the whole doc when I see it).

So far, same old same old. A 40 year old TV plastic housing is used as a frame to film men ("boys") burning wire on that spot on the lagoon shore.  Supposedly, 40 year old TVs and VCRs are being dumped on primitive tribesmen on the shores of Ghana.

Executive Directors Lars Wogen, John Ditchfield, and James Scott-Clarke (relation?) had access to both sides of the story. The trailer shows one side. I can hold my breath, but the fact that they use the exact same "50 year old kitchen CRT TV plastic" in a smoky Agbogbloshie frame for their title shot makes me pessimistic.

E-Missionaries Saving African Recyclers: 9 Stages Of Eyes Adjusting to Dark

Senegal Computer Salesman - 2006
The 2006 picture of white computers shows a Tech Sector importer in his shop in Dakar, Senegal.  The Pentium 3s and 4s were likely 5 years old. They'd be 15 now. The picture itself is 11 years old. Someday, the computers will be Senegal's e-waste, if not already.

Until then, they brought the internet to people who could not afford to buy new.  And Souleymane, the geek in the white shirt, was one of the most interesting people I've met in a decade.  He stayed at my house.  We cooked and broke bread together. I accepted his money, and he accepted those computers from Vermont.

Most of us don't have a personal connection with Africans in photos of exported e-waste.  And most of the photos in the mainstream press do not have any specifics... names, age, date of import, chain of possession, etc.

Contrast the 2006 import shop with the 2016 photo.

Unfortunately, neither photo is typical in news reports on exports of used electronics to Africa.

What do the photos below say to you as an Electronics Recycler?  It depends at what Stage of the Recycling Export Experience you have achieved.  To end racism and environmental injustice, you must first remember a lesson from childhood. Let your eyes adjust to the dark, and it won't frighten you as much as it does at first.

Here are the 9 Stages of Export Denial and Acceptance.

Achtung Germany! Agbogbloshie (Ghana) Pollution is from AUTOMOBILE Waste Not E-Waste / WEEE


The 'Burning Environmental Issue' is Automobile Waste, not e-waste.

Clean up Africa's car pollution, worry about electronics later (when you understand it).

Hey, Listen..."Sending European used cell phones" to Africa is not the problem, and arresting African export-import traders won't clean the water or bring back "Eden".

For two years, I've been making the point that Agbogbloshie is not the largest e-waste dump in the world, and that geeks of color are being racially profiled and arrested.  Those things are true.  But Accra is polluted, and the grants to date are misspent and misdirected.

Before Germany spends $15M - 25M on an e-waste recycling solution, they should look at the photos in the link more carefully.

It's a tire, and a ball of automobile wire, not a cell phone.

There is a serious pollution problem in Accra and other African cities. Its cause should be obvious as you wend your way from Accra's Kotoka International Airport to the hotel, the day before you spend another hour wending your way to Agbogbloshie's slum... or stuck bumper-to-bumber in Accra (or Lagos, or Nairobi) traffic.


Follow the trail.

[photos taken at Agbogbloshie Scrap Yard by Robin Ingenthron for WR3A - except for the screenshots from MTV music videos of Placebo and Beyonce, and DW article]