In the district of Agbogbloshie, or ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ as known locally, is one of the largest and underdeveloped areas in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. However, unlike other slums in the city, it has become a digital wasteland over the previous two decades, a dumping ground for the developed world’s electronic waste, a testament to Western culture’s insatiable appetite for electronic product.
As a more economically efficient alternative to the expensive recycling process used in developed parts of the world, such as the U.S and Europe, much of the millions of tonnes of electronic waste produced annually end up in sites like ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’. Hundreds of men, women and young children work away gutting the inoperative electronics for valuable parts and metal, using a range of crude and polluting methods, in an area that was a lagoon used for fishing, now transformed into a wasteland of scattered parts and scorched earth.
The process releases an array of harmful, toxic pollutants into the air and the ground, only a few hundred metres from the food market and housing settlements.
Henry Nicholls (b.1990) is a young photojournalist based in London. A recent graduate from the Photojournalism course at the London College of Communication, he holds a passionate interest in Environmental and Climate change issues. The project, 'Sodom and Gomorrah' was shot during late 2011 and early 2012, with an aim to provide coverage of the growing problem of Electronic waste produced worldwide, and the effects that the careless recycling methods have had, and are having, on developing countires, such as Ghana.
Combing respect and maintaining dignity of his subjects within his imagery in sensitive situations, when concerning peoples livelihoods, is key, especially when documenting stories that attempt to investigate situations that need resolve and change.
The project has so far been published and exhibited in several places.
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