Loss of secondary metals from informal recycling of e-waste at Agbogbloshie in Ghana

Author(s): Catherine Oparebea Larbi, Sampson Manukure Atiemo, Harriet Kuranchie-Mensah, Samuel Kofi Frimpong, Wilson Kokroko, Francis Aryequaye

This studywas aimed at assessing the loss of secondarymetals frominformal recycling of e-waste atAgbogbloshie, where primitive methods are used for e-waste processing. Samples were collected from fourteen (14) locations withinAgbogbloshie including the dismantling site and burning site of the scrap market. The X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) was used to evaluate the concentrations of the heavy metals and other elements in the sample. Non-ferrous metals such as Zn, Cu and Pb gave concentrations in the range of (422.54 – 181752.94mg/kg), (101.83 – 9144.50mg/kg) and (117.03 – 14448.46mg/kg), respectively. All these concentrations those of ferrous and specialty metals exceeded the New Dutch List Action Values over thousand times. The highest index of geoaccumulation (Igeo) value of 9.589 was recorded at the dismantling site and 8.597 at the burning site for Pb. High Igeo values of 5.07, 5.34 and 4.36 were also recorded for Zinc in road dust, Domod office and store in themarket respectively.As and Hg recorded Igeo values between 2.6409 - 4.6389 and 5.3068 - 7.559, respectively. This is an indication that ferrous, non-ferrous and specialty metals are being lost into the soil and further research should be carried out into the mode of operation of the scrap dealers in order to design a suitable method of extracting the desired metals from the waste.

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