trash ghana.jpg
You've heard of NIMBYs -- those oppositionists whose hostility towards a project amounts to "not in my back yard." Now meet their ideological opposite, the

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Washington Has Nothing On Ghana When It Comes to Taking Other People's Trash

trash ghana.jpg
You've heard of NIMBYs -- those oppositionists whose hostility towards a project amounts to "not in my back yard." Now meet their ideological opposite, the YIMBYs. Foreign Policy says there are five places in the world that are happily accepting that which other people don't want. Including Ghana, the West African country that has a jones for trash even greater than Washington's.

Our state, as you might recall, was all set to receive 150,000 tons of waste from Hawaii. But back in July, a federal judge determined that the state hadn't adequately measured the possible environmental impact on the Spokane landfill. So the shipment of empty cans of macadamia nuts and discarded leis is still in Honolulu.

Ghana, on the other hand, is less interested in what someone else's dirty laundry might do to its rivers and air supply and more interested in what it might do to its bottom line:

For years, the Ghanaian government has sought to make treasure out of its enormous supply of trash, even touting the slogan, "Solid Waste: Big Problem! Big Opportunity!" The opportunity is waste-to-energy, a process for capturing gases from waste and converting them to fuel. Ghana hopes that garbage alone can generate 50 megawatts of electricity over the next 15 years. But though the country has some of the worst sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa, its landfills are so picked over that there's not enough "good" waste to turn into electric power. So, in 2008, the government proposed a $250 million scheme to import and incinerate garbage from Western Europe and Canada.

Although the plan is still in development, Ghana is already a dumping ground for Europe's electronic waste, with containers full of broken cell phones, computer hard drives, and TVs arriving each month in the port of Tema, near Accra. European laws prohibit the export of this dangerous waste, but labeling the trash as a "charitable donation" offers a loophole. In the enormous Agbogbloshie dump, children smash keyboards and burn circuit boards to salvage scraps of iron and copper for sale, sending up black plumes of smoke over the acrid city.

 
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