The world's largest e-waste dump is also home to a vibrant community

Meet the people who live and work in "Sodom"

Meet the people who live and work in "Sodom"

A still from 'Welcome to Sodom'. (Black box films)

Agbogbloshie, an area in Ghana's capital, Accra, is the largest e-waste dumpsite in the world. It's nicknamed Sodom for the open fires used to extract metal from old electronics. Some 250,000 tons of electronics, appliances and the like are sent there every year.

It's also a vibrant community with its own culture and social organization.

Of course, they go day by day, but they hope for the great deal they make tomorrow, and they have that positive energy.- Florian Weigensamer

Agbogbloshie is the subject of the documentary, Welcome to Sodom, by Austrian filmmakers Florian Weigensamer and Christian Krönes, which explores the lives of the people who live and work there.

Filmmaker Florian Weigensamer. (Provided by Florian Weigensamer)

"When you first come there, it looks like an apocalyptic place," Weigensamer told Spark host Nora Young. "It seems like a place where everything ends...The soil is dead — it's black. The river is not a river anymore. It's not water. There's chemical reactions going on."

But that "apocalyptic" landscape conceals a community of entrepreneurs, determined to salvage what they can from discarded goods. "They see themselves as businessmen," Weigensamer explained. 

"It was so fascinating to see their positive perspective on this place. For them it's a place of hope. Of course, they go day-by-day, but they hope for the great deal they make tomorrow, and they have that positive energy," he said.

Resident uses fire to burn off plastic, in order to salvage copper wire. (Black Box Film)

As an example of that energy, musician and rapper Musa Abukari, who goes by the name D-BOY, built his music studio from salvaged computers. "We went to the studio and I couldn't believe it, because it's so professional and very high level. You would never expect to find a place like that in a dump," Weigensamer said.

Welcome to Sodom screened as part of this year's Planet in Focus film festival in Toronto


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