Kevin Mcelvaney- Agbogbloshie

Agbogbloshie is a wetland close to Ghana which is surrounded by rivers that stream into the Atlantic Ocean.

As a result of illegal exports and fake development aid this area has become one of the biggest e-waste dumps in the world. It is filled with Computers, Monitors, Fridges, Stereos, Video players etc.  Kevin Mcelvaney spent 4 days in this area and met hundred of people who told him that due to countless bad harvests they’d been forced to move to this area to earn money. Often children without their parents. They collect metal with magnets from the E-Waste. The devices are full of toxic chemicals that are damading when inhaled or touched. This can make the children very ill with lung problems, eye and back damages with insomnia. Photographer Mcelvaney began to feel the effects of this after just a few hours. The devices mostly end up here because it is ‘too expensive’ to dispose of them properly or recycle them.

Mcelvaney describes this as “a social-economic and environmental disaster”.

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This is extremely harmful to the planet and begs the question are we really a progressive society if our consumer culture causes other people to live amongst our waste? This E- Waste is also an irritant on our geopolitics through our exploitation of other countries. I was drawn to this project due to the Media Archaeology essay I recently completed for University in which I explored Zombie Media and E-Waste in relation to the definition of progress. This Photography project definitely reflects this and is incredibly thought provoking.

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