Agblogblogshie: E-Waste Tsunami Covers Sodom-Gomorah in Understated Hell

Agbog-blog-shie Unplugged:  E-Waste Tsunami Covers Sodom & Gomorah in Understated Hell

Starved of facts and nuance, reports from African city of Accra - found on verge of catastrophe.

[BSNewsire, Accra, Ghana  April 1 2015]

Longtime a skeptic of "ewaste" dumping claims, WR3A Founder Robin Ingenthron arrived in Ghana last Sunday, and was shocked to find the situation far graver than he imagined.

"It began when our Delta Airlines flight was unable to land," said Ingenthron.   "We could see the junk televisions from 4,000 meters above Accra.   They were scattered in stacks, up to 90 feet high, on the runway and tarmac, and along the highway."

The Agbogbloshie dike, which separated greater Accra from the largest collection of electronic waste on the planet, had broken.    Teenagers could be seen pouring out of the Agbogbloshie fences, trying to regather the discarded computers and televisions.  But as fast as the kids worked to burn them, a tsunami of CRT televisions continued to spout through the gates, covering the streets of Accra and stalling traffic.

Ingenthron and other passengers were dropped via small white parachutes, like baby Dumbos, into the zoo of e-waste.  From the ground, the confessed electronics reuse kingpin came face to face with the toxic consequences of his "reuse excuse".

As reported in The Guardian, by Greenpeace, and at weather.com, "millions of tons" of obsolete electronics arrived in Agbobloshie each year.  At 34 units per ton, or 102 million TVs and monitors per year, 279,452 pieces had to be burned each day, keeping the 27 scrap boys who work in Abogbloshie on double shifts.  American households throwing away an average of 2.8 TVs per day are blamed for the mess.  Unfortunately, faced with the relatively small fires and lack of lighter fluid, the scrap boys had allowed a tinderbox of 10 decades of throwaways to amass.



"Today I have already carried 23,000 televisions, more than twice my share," said Sean Fahiri. Sean said he must carry the televisions on his head, sometimes 195 at a time, accompanied by two year old children to carry the TV remotes.  European grants for a $45,000 wheelbarrow under an "appropriate technology" grant, had not done enough to reduce strain on the lad's neck.

In front of a towering blaze of burning CRT tubes, Jim Puckett of Basel Action Network stood atop a discarded electronic i-soapbox, and spoke to reporters.

"We told you so.  Just as we have warned, it has finally happened.  The tsunami has overflowed the gates.   A tipping point of e-waste has flooded the streets and airport, and it is time to atone," Puckett announced via tsk-tsk.

Some of the floes of CRTs had still yet to topple. More than a decade of imported, disposed CRTs creaked behind Puckett, causing many reporters to fear for their lives.  The ten year pile of discards (over two billion CRTs) were stacked, lead oozing from their digital entrails, like lava from a volcano of video display devices.

"The 27 Africans who work in this yard are 80% blacker than the average African," warned Puckett.  "The eyes in their photos are 55% more pitiful, and their work is 75% more ghoulish."   As the pile of a billion burning televisions creaked and leaned forward, the crowd of reporters skirted back.

Puckett had warned the UN Basel Convention in 2006 that, based on extensive research, 75% of the imports to Ghana were not reused, based on a back-room reassessment of his guided 2006 Kenya Report (which showed 90% reuse).  Millions of tons per year, not actually reused, had finally resulted in the flood, and there would be no room in the ark for naysayers.

"Repent!" Puckett shouted, as he passed a donation basket through the throng of journalits.  The money would be sent to his office in Seattle, where a crew of young "green" college students was now feverishly generating more statistics.

"Only 9% of Ghanaians have electricity." Puckett reported. "The average African can only afford a measley 15% of a cell phone.   Their tweets are only 14 characters!"  Puckett continued to read statistics from a ticker tape, as reporters Scott Pelley of CBS news fought off a gang of kindergardeners, trying to seize his iPhone camera.

"Twenty halloween references are generated here every minute!"  Puckett shouted.   "Shantytowns, rice paddies, banana fields, monkeys, jack o'lanterns and Soddom and Gomorra allusions are increasing hyperbolically.   Agbogbloshie is now the very pinnacle of alphabetical lists of pollution."

Ingenthron could be seen trying to run for an exit, as he heard a tiny crack.  A single leaded tube, near the base of the burning pile, had succumbed to heat and pressure.   Like a domino pulled from the bottom of a stack, the tube flattened into a pile of shattered glass dust, and the pile of burning TVs - seven times larger than the Eiffel Tower (according to Puckett), came crashing atop him, as his 5th-degree hamstring pull made him up to 50% too slow to reach the exit gate of "e-waste Hell".  From beneath the pile, one hand extended, seemingly desperate to hit the delete key on his blog list.

Puckett smiled, and ended the press conference on with upbeat background music.  "Thanks to your donations, and the profit sharing of E-Steward Enterprises, our Gaze on Agbogbloshie can continue.   Other city dumps in other African and Asian metropolises can be exposed as massive piles of scrap. His target: 45 more cities would be labelled the most toxic site on earth by year end.

This could be a challenge.   For the "millions of tons" of e-waste American households are blamed for in Ghana alone, the average USA household must dispose of 2.8 TVs, PCs and printers each day .

Trade reporters read the press release describing the catastrophe in Agbogbloshie from the flickering screens of their three year old laptops.  Unable to witness the E-waste Armageddon in person, they were challenged to use calculators and secondary sources like World Bank to confirm the number of tons per containerload, per child's head, and per wheelbarrow necessary to support BAN.org statistics.  "These numbers and statistics have been coming at us faster than our English majors could verify," said Dylan de Thomas.

For those unable to make BAN's own numbers and claims jive, Annie Leonard released a video with stick figures, with words like "bad" and "good" in letters so bold a grade schooler, or humanities undergraduate, could read them.

"Academically speaking, the pile used to be in China," said geography professor Josh Lepawsky.  "The verifiability of quantitative assessments of post-modern circuit tracking across global spheres of relevance has extended itself, posthumously in an end-of-life sense, and without ample peer review, to a GPS game of whack a mole.  If Agbogbloshie cannot sustain its receiving rates, this pile could reassemble or rather re-externalize itself quickly in another large emerging market city."

As quickly as it fell, Agbogbloshie's toxic stack now began to reassemble itself, as children in the night - some too black to see with the naked eye - reassembled the rubbish like halloween masked circus acrobats.   "These are strong children," said Bloomberg contributor Adam Minter. "Like a radioactive spider bite, the computer viruses and toxics - from burning wires - must have given them awesome powers to explain this flood of statistics."  He called Ingenthron's final apology - this time genuine - a tribute to the UK prosecutors who took the man, Joe Benson, off the streets.  Unfortunately, the TV repairman was imprisoned too late to stop the African e-Waste catastrophe of April 1, 2015.  Activists pray that more such arrests - and export boycotts - will make more than an iota of difference in the rate of polluted poverty pontification.

[this is part of the blog's April Fool's Day tradition.  Ingenthron in fact landed safely in Accra, and found only junk cars, white goods, and 20-50 pieces of ewaste per day, collected in wheeled carts from Accra city businesses and residents]

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