African "E-waste" Witch Hunt Continues: Part 2

I have the account of Mark Daniels.  I have the account of Joe Benson.  I'm looking for Ezenwa Ogbonnaya and M2 Ventures Limited ...  That will make 3 UK electronics recycling companies who were tried in the press.

Daniels Recycling prosecuted for African WEEE export

In Part 1, as well as the "Sodom and Gomorrah" blog, we traced the outrage and arrests back to two men, Jim Puckett and Mike Anane.

  • That Agbogbloshie was a very large e-waste dump... perhaps "biggest in the world"
  • That the Odaw River was a pristine, green African "Eden" just a decade ago, "teeming with fish"
  • That the lead in the soil at the dump does not come from automobiles, but from dumped electronics
  • That 80% of the electronics shipped to Ghana are "junk" and the other 20% "fail after between 2 and 6 months"
  • That most of the work done at Agbogbloshie is by children, orphans, under age 18
  • That the majority of workers at AGbogbloshie die of cancer in 2 years.

Well, well, well... this is the information that was recited by Anane and Puckett at an Interpol meeting I attended at EPA offices in Arlington VA in March 2010.   Puckett and Anane were introduced by the UK's Environmental Agency head, Lord Chris Smith.   

These horrible "e-waste facts" were also recited to Raphael Rowe of BBC in "Panorama".

If half of the "e-waste facts" were half true, it would indeed be understandable that the Environmental Agency prosecuted Joe Benson, Mark Daniels, and Ezenwa Ogbonnaya for dumping - or rather selling - used electronics to Africa's Tech Sector.

But the accusers, the prosecutors, never met anyone in Africa's Tech Sector, did they?

BREAKING: Lord Chris Smith's African Witch Hunt Continues: Part 1

UNEP doubled down, using photos of "primitive recycling" in its 2015 report on "e-waste".  But the actual statistics hidden throughout UNEP's own report told a different story from it's press release headline.  If the majority of sea containers of used electronics shipped from Europe are "illegal", then why do the seizures of hundreds of containers only find 1/3 which had anything illegal?

Just one of dozens of examples where the #ewastehoax needs to answer the simple question, "duh?"

UNEP is only pointing fingers, however.  One nation abandoned nuance with flair 5 years ago.  Indictments and prison sentences. While Agbo workers burn wire, England is burning witches.

The photo above shows Mike Anane of Ghana briefing reporter Raphael Rowe of BBC Panorama, on the ground in Agbogbloshie, Ghana.   Mr. Anane was back at Agbogbloshie 2 days before my arrival in March... briefing Jacopo Ottaviana of Aljazeera's #ewasterepublic... see below.

"When I look at these things, I would not call it importation. For me the bottom line is dumping, because from all of these containers that come, only about 20% are functional, and 80% are junk, garbage" - Mike Anane Aug 2014


Anane's accounts to journalists were covered on this blog a few days ago.  I met him face to face at an Interopol Meeting in Washington DC in 2010, where he presented between UK Environmental Agency Director Lord Chris Smith and Jim Puckett of BAN.  You know the claims... 80% dumping. 500 sea containers per month arriving at Agbogbloshie. The biggest E-Waste Dump in the World. Teeming with fish, Anane recounted, just 10 years earlier.

Mike Anane: "For the past 11 years. That was when I first saw the trucks with e-waste coming from the port to Agbogbloshie. Agbogbloshie happens to be a place I’m familiar with. I have been hanging around the area when it was a lush, green, beautiful wetland with lots of birds and some wildlife, and the river and the lagoon that run through the dump site had so much fish. The fishermen, the people in the communities depended on these rivers for their livelihood. Agbogbloshie used to be an amazing, beautiful wetland, a Garden of Eden. A wetland performs enormous environmental functions. When the water from the city goes to the sea, it goes through the wetland and gets filtered. Fish from the sea come and make babies. Wetlands are so important to every country, to nature, and to mankind.
"But now, the river and the lagoon are both dead: no fish, no organisms, nothing. The river and the lagoon both end up in the sea, and when the fishermen at the seaside throw their net, hoping to catch some fish, they get computers, television sets, and fridges. Their poisons spill into the sea every single day... So for me Agbogbloshie, which was a green Garden of Eden, is now paradise lost."
Note that this interview was in August 2014, describing "11 years" of experience.  But his 2010 interview with me at Interpol, he said it had been ten years.  And in his first interview, with Greenpeace in 2008, it was ten years.  And on PBS Frontline, it was since he was a boy.

My personal interview was during the meeting that set Lord Chris Smith up against Hurricane Benson. Lord Chris Smith, as I recall, introduced Jim Puckett and Mike Anane to the audience of Interpol enforcement experts.  It set up the first arrest and indictment of "Hurricane Joe Benson". And this week,, a British environmental online newsletter, reports that "Hurricane Joe Benson" has company.


Latest Pics of Kids at Dumps - #TakingTuesday #FloggingAgbogbloshie

Pics of Kids at Dumps - The Gift that Keeps on Taking.

See today's solicitation from our friends at Basel Action Network, photo of scrapper at Agbogbloshie. It implies your donation for #GivingTuesday will benefit "Children aged 11-18" scavenging at dumps to earn $1-3 per day.  Another waste NGO flogging Agbogbloshie.

Ages 11-18??  B******t.  See Journal of Health, Exploratory Health Assessment of Chemical Exposures at E-Waste Recycling and Scrapyard Facility in Ghana (Jack CaravanosDrPH, CIHEdith E. ClarkeDrPH, MPHCarl S. OseiMD, MPHYaw Amoyaw-Osei)
Demographic Characteristics:  "The ages of the 87 e-waste exposed subjects from Agbogbloshie ranged from 15 to 73 years. The mean age was 32 years with a standard deviation of 5.6..."
Mean age 32.  Median age of 25.5 years.  That's not "child labor". The mean age of women giving childbirth in Ghana is 22.2 years, for crying out loud.  The employment data at the recycling yard shows far less child labor than agriculture sector, in fact it's above average for workforce in Accra.

Remember, this is from the organization that "never, ever stated" 80% of used electronics were dumped.  They are shameless in their "data" when it's used to solicit donations. They have a view of math, as something that your wishes and intentions give you mysterious powers over.  And it's full of accidental racism, bigotry, povertyporn, and profiling.   Yuck.

The art of making up very specific, scientificky sounding stats and numbers is bad for environmentalism and development.  But you know what's REALLY offensive to the workers in Agbogbloshie (who I'm still in touch with every week)?  That they are raising money with POSTER CHILDREN and they do not share one penny with anyone whose photos they use.

NONE.  I think this qualifies for worst non-profit EVER.  They can't even do #PovertyPorn right. 

Welcome to #TakingTuesday

When Formal Market is Criminal, is Informal more Moral?

Quick thanks for a tip from a pal via Tweet, here's a thought-provoking article on Informal Trade in East Africa.  Kate Douglas writes in

Wheelbarrows of dollars: Understanding informal trade in East Africa 

"The Hand That Will Rule The World—One Big Union"I'll leave you to read it, it's about the underestimation of the power and importance of "informal" markets in Africa, and how "off the books" trade makes African commerce look smaller than it really is.  That's not a huge surprise - how much of the growth in China's economy came from record-keeping of trade previously off the record?

The thoughts provoked here are based on my sadness and disgust at the levels of corruption I witnessed while living in Africa in the mid-80s.  I remember going through checkpoints in East Zaire (Dem Republic of Congo) which were set up by soldiers on dirt roads in the jungle.  Using a fallen tree to block the road, the soldiers would stop taxivans and demand bribes, while waving machine guns.

When "formal" is run by criminals, the moral market may be the informal.