Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Toxic rubbish 'dumped in Africa'

Man at a waste dump in Lagos, Nigeria
Hundreds of thousands of household items end up in African rubbish dumps

Tonnes of toxic waste from municipal dumps in the West are being dumped illegally in countries like Nigeria and Ghana, an investigation has found.

Hundreds of thousands of broken items like TVs and computers are being sold to dealers on the pretext of re-use.

Under EU law, such household appliances must be dismantled or recycled.

But they are stripped of raw metals by those working on poisoned waste dumps, the report by Greenpeace, Sky News and Britain's Independent newspaper found.

Greenpeace said the young people working on such dumps often break apart the electronic items for parts, but in doing so are exposed to poisonous chemicals like mercury, lead and cadmium.

We took all the insides out and put [in] a tracker device
Environmentalist Iza Kruszewskahe

"We basically managed to track a TV going from the UK allegedly as second-hand equipment to Nigeria," Iza Kruszewskahe, from the environmental group, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"When in fact we knew, because we gutted it, this TV, before it left the UK, we took all the insides out and put [in] a tracker device, which enabled us to track this old TV from the UK, through the recycler, etc to Nigeria."

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