BIT ROT Project

Interview by Valentino Bellini

Agbobloshie, Accra, Ghana. 2012 A young man is transporting electric materials ready to be burnt. The materials treated in the Agbobloshie landfill contain substances that are highly toxic for the environment and for human health. Cadmium, lead, phthalates, antimony, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), chlorobenzenes, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), triphenyl phosphate (TPP), Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs).



Lahore, Pakistan. 2013 A guy stand in front of a huge pile of electronic components which will be later processed to extract precious metals.


Wagha Town, Lahore, Pakistan. 2013 Trucks full of metallic materials coming from the disposal of electric and electronic waste arrive to this foundry daily. Here the metal, along with some other metal scrap of different provenience, is melted at a temperature of 1800 degrees Celsius. In this way, they create new metallic materials and use it in the construction field.


Hall Road, Lahore, Pakistan. 2013 Hall Road is the largest electronic market in the Punjab region and one of the largest in Pakistan. Here you can find any kind of electronic device. Most of the materials you can find here have been illegally imported from China or western countries. You can buy devices that are new or used and working. There are parts coming from the disposal of devices from United States, Europe or China through illegal shipments, and parts that don’t work anymore and that are sold wholesale to extract metals like gold.


Lahore, Pakistan. 2013 An electronic and electrical waste collection area on the outskirts of Lahore. In this place small business’ owners, look for wastes that they can use for recycling and waste disposal purposes or that contain precious metals.

Walton Road, Lahore, Pakistan. 2013 A boy on the roof of his house is preparing a chemical tank where, through a very complex procedure, he will extract gold from printed circuits that were parts of broken computers. His father had to pay a great amount of money so that his son could learn this technique from another person, but this investment is allowing them to increase the profits of their small business that is specialized in the recycling of electronic waste.

Shahdara, Lahore, Pakistan. 2013 A woman taking apart imported electronic devices. She separates the components that she will sell to specialized retailers.

Odaw River, Accra, Ghana. The Odaw River and the Korle Lagoon are full of every kind of wastes coming from the Agbobloshie landfill and from the nearby slums where they use the river like a latrine. A couple of hundreds meters downhill the river and lagoon flow into the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The government of Ghana is trying to restore the natural conditions of the lagoon thanks to the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration project (KLERP).