Used computers toxifying kids, polluting oceans

ghana children computersOut of Africa comes the disturbing news of entire regions being toxified and polluted by the industry of recycling used computers. There are millions of discarded computers on this planet, and many of them are ending up in African villages as well as elsewhere, including China, India, Nigeria, the Philippines and Vietnam, replete with highly toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

Our modern technology is amazing, allowing for a vast global enlightenment on a scale never seen before. Just think about the wonders brought to us by our computers and the internet – ever see this video?

But, as is always the case with major human endeavors, the cost is great. The solution cannot be to become Luddites but to improve our technology, using less toxic substances wherever possible. In the meantime, children pay the price for our conveniences and comforts.

How Discarded Computers Are Poisoning Africa’s Kids

According to the Bible, God rained down fire and brimstone to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. “Sodom and Gomorrah” is also what officials in Accra, Ghana, have come to call a part of their city plagued by toxins of a sort the residents of the Biblical cities couldn’t even have imagined. No one sets foot in this place unless they absolutely have to.

Acrid, black smoke drifts over the huts of the slum. The river, too, is black and thick like used oil, as it carries empty computer cases toward the ocean. Fires are blazing on the bank across the way, fueled by foam and slivers of plastic. Their flames consume the plastic material from cables, plugs and motherboards, leaving behind only metal….

These children live amid the refuse of the Internet age, and many of them may die of it. They pull apart the computers, breaking the screens with rocks, then throw the internal electronics onto the fires. Computers contain large amounts of heavy metals, and as the plastic burns, the children also breathe in highly carcinogenic fumes. The computers of the rich are poisoning the children of the poor.

The United Nations estimates that up to 50 million tons of electronic waste are thrown away globally each year….


  1. What a shame. All for what?
    If you want this sort of exploitation of people to stop. All you have to do as a consumer is consume less. Stop buying stuff. Your old computer is fine. That new game you want to play is the same old game from 5 years ago with new graphics. Don’t be fooled by marketing whores.

    1. i so would love to have an Apple Tablet, but i hold out from buying it, even if I have the money (I always try to use the present tense when it comes to what is and what isn’t, even if I can’t see it…crazy I know, but it’s supposed to make things happen),
      I want the Tablet because (lol) it was my idea first….@least, before it was made public, only …. mine was of a more holographic nature. So, I say, lead me not into temptation I can find it myself, and will, will resist this Temptation to buy that apple B) . there’s one for You D.M.
      We are on the verge of the whole new Biblical Revolution….
      don’t eat the apple for heavens sakes…it’ll do things to ya!

  2. Used Computers
    At least these kid get to handle a computer.
    Seriously, people should call their community recycling to find out how electronics are disposed of. Many communities, including mine have a healthy method of disposal.
    Actually, I think I will make a phone call to confirm that :unsure:

  3. 👿

    GOOD FOR EM!!!!!

  4. ???
    Not much of an article, why are the Africans burning the computers, for scrap metal?

    1. I didn’t write the actual article – like many bloggers on the net, I simply made commentary on it. The article itself is several pages long. Just click on the link.

    2. REASON
      Scrap metals? yes as in silver, gold, copper, iron, tin…………..scrap metals

  5. There are many fine business minded well groomed gentlemen taking advantage of this opportunity. They can take your computers and electronics and sell them to foreign nations and all it costs is the health and lives of a few kids we don’t know. So turn your head and make some jokes. Our businessmen are profiting so that is all that matters. Oh yea, this was a story on dateline a few months back and the people that are engaging in this crap know fully well what they are doing. Much like scumbag Johnnyboy they don’t care. I’m assuming they have some sort of religious affiliation to care so little about the human condition.

  6. The Scam
    These companies advertise that they will take your computer and recycle it, just bring it to such and such location and we’ll take it off your hands. 100% of the time those computers will be shipped to one of these disgusting enslavement camps where the kids will take the computers apart under the most disgusting conditions. The toxic, carcinogenic fumes are breathed freely and the waste runs off into the water supply where the village draws their water and bathe. What a world we live in.

    Spread the word, don’t give your electronics to such a vile scam.

  7. Kill the Earth
    Let’s destroy the earth. Who cares!! If I want a new computer, I’m gonna buy one! Screw the Earth!

  8. This might seem to be a cruel thing to say, but what do I care about some third world bsrbarian primitives anyway? The best thing that could happen for them is to die, which means less resources being used up by these useless eaters. The civilized West is all that matters. I would rather see all of them die than to have my standard of living fall. To hell with them!

    1. I’m sorry, but anyone who would say such hateful things about beautiful, helpless children is the real useless eater.

  9. Once Again it’s “Blame Whitey”
    Negros live in mud huts, negros will always live in mud huts. Negros destroy American cities, negros will always destroy American cities. Negros rape, rob, loot and murder. Negros choose this life.

    1. Bigots and failures
      🙁 Thou hast angered me, Vox. I will sent the Metatron down to deal with you. Beware.

  10. Recycling computers is not the problem, the problem is the way it is being done. To protect these people from the polution, perhaps some wealthy philantropist could supply these recyclers with plasma incinerators. They burn extremely hot, outputting relatively ‘clean’ exhaust, and the operation is self-sustaining IIRC.

  11. Do you believe in hell?
    👿 Do you believe in hell Mr. Charlie? because i am here to tell you that a heartless vile, immoral being such as yourself should ! And when your day of passing comes your black and evil heart will stand trial for it’s lack of compassion and decency and i can assure you it will be found guilty as charged on all counts and then you shall know just exactly what it is like to be on the receiving end of being shown no compassion for your suffering . The only difference is that yours shall be without end !

  12. Reply
    @Vox and Mr. Charlie, you both are sick twisted racist scum! f**k ya’ll!

  13. this shouldn’t happen
    These kids don’t deserve to suffer like this. Just because they’re poor and live far away doesn’t mean that their lives don’t matter. But why are they burning the boards and such? Materials with heavy or toxic metals should not be burned, except maybe with a plasma incinerator like someone suggested. Maybe the computers could be taken apart into smaller pieces and stored, or reused somehow.

    Someone besides a country in Africa could buy this equipment and get rid of it closer to home. Is there any other way to actually recycle computers, besides trying to burn them? It’s terrible. It should bother these so-called recycling companies’ consciences.

  14. Industrialized hemp + plastic
    Industrialized hemp + plastic could replace many computer components, like the plastic-resin computer shells. They have hemp and hemp with plastic (compressed/woven) CD holders for sale (and more). Industrialized hemp biodegrades safely into the soil, UNLIKE PLASTIC! :whistle:

    Do you think the oil giants :dry: want plastic to disappear or have it’s usage reduced because that would get rid of the floating plastic junk barge in the Pacific ocean and allow soil to recycle easily? Do you???

    Do you??

  15. reply about hemp
    No, the oil companies probably make a lot of money off making things out of plastic. They would not want to stop making computers out of plastic. They could make computer parts out of biodegradable materials like hemp, if they wanted to. Is hemp any more expensive to make things with? But would anyone want to buy a computer made out of hemp? Hemp is like marijuana, isn’t it? The same plant.

    Or could they just use a cheap, recyclable metal like aluminum? It might be too heavy. I think they’re already made of a metal of some kind. Responsible manufacturers should be discussing things like this. How about wood? At least for the CPU cases? Wood could be burned, and is a renewable resource. The electronic and electrical components of the mother board, hardware, cables, etc. would still have to be made with certain metals. They could try using lead-free solder to solder the boards, that would help.

    Anyway, a foreign country should not have this junk dumped on them. It should definitely not be burned, and someone should tell those people in Africa that. Why don’t they just store it in big shipping containers or something?

  16. I would be happy to do this in the US. I probably wouldn’t meet American standards for the environment but I would do a better job than is performed in third world countries. But, of course, our government makes it illegal for a person like me to try to make a living doing this so we export it to foreign countries.

    The ultimate issue is excessive regulation in America resulting in the exporting of our jobs and wealth overseas.

    Of course, the alternative for these lamented children is starvation. Would you rather they have something they can do to obtain food or would you rather they starve. As usual we are applying US standards to people who don’t live in the US. The alternative to child labor in many such places is child starvation. Which do you prefer?

  17. You can buy what you want but try to discard the old one in a way that doesn’t get people hurt. A few minutes of your time to think about things isn’t going to cost you a dime and might very well save some lives.

  18. The world as we know it will soon come to an end. Perhaps some might even die before that happens, in any case you WILL meet your maker. Be prepared, repent of your sins.

    Whatever corporation is responsible for this atrocity is not the only one guilty. There are other parties involved: The US govt for not regulating this, the African govt/Authorities for allowing others to use their country as a garbage can, the people who do NOT choose the green alternatives when purchasing new products.

    I can foresee us (humans) in the future sending our trash to outer space or something.

  19. Mr Hamburger is correct. Find a livelihood or starve. Until you have been there you could not possibly understand. These are people just like us…this scares you a liitle bit doesn’t it. They are victims of circumstance. If these were your circumstances we would be talking about you instead of them. I am doing what I can to help there in Ghana. You should too. Ghana is a stable English speaking democracy whose people are bright and friendly. To me, it is not some far away place. I have a business there and considerable investment. It feels good to help those less fortunate. To me it “raises my standard of living” to help out.

  20. Full Well
    This comment of yours really hit home. In so many ways.

  21. Used computers toxifying kids, polluting oceans
    very good article and nice photos too. I

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