The “Urban Mine” in Accra, Ghana


The conundrum of waste is that it is regarded as an aesthetic inconvenience in the developed world and a source of income in the developing world. Urban mining—reclaiming valuable metals from discarded electronic devices—has become an important economic activity in the informal sector in places such as Agbogbloshie, a slum in Accra, Ghana. In this article, Richard Grant examines the material flows linking Ghana with the rest of the world, the politics of waste recycling, and the hazards faced by those processing e-waste.