#3 Ghana Environmental Protection Agency Interview and meeting with Electronic Waste Workers

On Monday we got to interview an employee at the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency. Being able to meet with someone from the Ghana EPA was big for us because they are one of the main actors in creating regulation on electronic waste importation and collection. We discussed with the employee about what the Ghana EPA wants to see with Agbogbloshie and their involvement. We learned that the Ghana EPA worked with stakeholders on coming up with a roadmap. Their objectives are to clean up the area, stop the burning, and manage the waste. One of the big challenges was that there was no law regulating e-waste. They sought to change that and in 2011 they drafted a bill on regulating e-waste. The Hazardous Waste Act was just passed last month and has various components that seek to regulate e-waste. The act creates a levee on e-waste, a recycling fund for collection of the e-waste, and an incentive system to buy back e-waste where the Ghana EPA pays back consumers. The Ghana EPA is also working with Interpol to stop the importation of e-waste into Ghana. The Ghana EPA plans to receive support from the National Youth Authority in enacting their new law.

After meeting with the Ghana EPA, my research colleague and I went back to Agbogbloshie to meet with the founder of Help the African Child again. He showed us around Old Fadama, the slum adjacent to the Agbogbloshie electronic waste site. He took us to the school he helps support. The school houses the children of various e-waste workers, orphans, and various other people. After seeing the students we went into the electronic waste and sat down and talked with some the various workers that he knows. The workers told us about why they work in Agbogbloshie. Many of the electronic waste workers are from the north and come down seasonally to work in e-waste collection and more to support their entire families. This is important because they are only subsidence farmers and therefore have no money left over after the harvest. Many of the workers aspire to do other things such as mechanics, shop owners, rappers, and more but they need the training and finances to do so.

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