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Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

London's illegal trade in electronic E-waste

Electronic waste

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Some of the poorest nations on Earth are facing environmental catastrophe because criminals are illegally dumping our electronic junk or 'E-waste' in Africa.

E-waste is our fastest growing form of rubbish. Eager for flat screens and HD pictures, London dumps more than 4,000 TVs daily.

These TVs are packed with lead and toxic metals, and the law requires all electricals to be recycled within the UK.

To avoid paying for proper disposal in the UK, criminals ship containers of electrical waste and illegally dump it in Africa.

But when our reporter Mark Jordan visited a dump site at the 'Sodom and Gomorra' slum in Ghana, he discovered tonnes of our E-waste that had been illegally shipped and dumped - some bearing the names of UK banks, health authorities and a police force.

This waste is dismantled for metals by children as young as five - unaware of the serious health hazards involved from heavy metals and carcinogenic agents.

The UK has banned the export of electrical waste, but that green law has turned toxic as criminals smuggle it out for recycling in one of the poorest countries on earth.

The full story is on BBC Inside Out London on Monday 8 March at 1930 on BBC One and nationwide on BBC iPlayer thereafter.

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