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Category Archives: e-waste

Pieter Hugo's photo series Permanent Error depicts a technology waste dump on the outskirts of a suburb/slum of Accra, Ghana, called Agbogbloshie. Others have documented this massive dumping site of computers and electronic waste as well; all images are a startling glimpse of the oft-ignored after-effects of consumption and innovation. I am drawn to Hugo's photographs as exposing a desolate landscape: mountains of monitors, a ground of keyboards, and a sense of apocalyptic calm in the mayhem of e-waste.

From Hugo's statement on the project:
"The UN Environment Program has stated that Western countries produce around 50 million tons of digital waste every year. Much (of the waste) is piled in containers and shipped to developing countries, supposedly to reduce the digital divide, to create jobs and help people. In reality, the inhabitants of dumps like Agbogbloshie survive largely by burning the electronic devices to extract copper and other metals out of the plastic used in their manufacture. The electronic waste contaminates rivers and lagoons with consequences that are easily imaginable. In 2008 Green Peace took samples of the burnt soil in Agbogbloshie and found high concentrations of lead, mercury, thallium, hydrogen cyanide and PVC."

See and read more: http://www.pieterhugo.com/selected-work/permanent-error/permerror36.jpg/