E-Waste: The Digital Dark SIDE KQED

Listen to the audio:


• What happens to the electronic waste produced by the United States?

• What happens to e-waste after it arrives in developing countries?

• Why does so much e-waste get shipped to Asia?

• What are the negative effects of dumping e-waste?

• How do the toxins in e-waste return to the United States?

• What can concerned citizens do about e-waste?

Discuss the questions and share students’ reactions together as a class.

Vocabulary, HERE

Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground

Watch the video, HERE

On the outskirts of Ghana’s biggest city sits a smoldering wasteland, a slum carved into the banks of the Korle Lagoon, one of the most polluted bodies of water on Earth. The locals call it Sodom and Gomorrah.

Correspondent Peter Klein and a group of graduate journalism students from the University of British Columbia have come here as part of a global investigation to track a shadowy industry that’s causing big problems here and around the world.

Their guide is a 13-year-old boy named Alex. He shows them his home, a small room in a mass of shanty dwellings, and offers to take them across a dead river to a notorious area called Agbogbloshie.

Agbogbloshie has become one of the world’s digital dumping grounds, where the West’s electronic waste, or e-waste, piles up—hundreds of millions of tons of it each year.

• How is the slum outside Ghana’s biggest city described?

• Why did the news correspondent and graduate students go to Ghana?

• What is the “shadowy industry” that is causing global problems?

• What does the introduction reveal about Alex and his life in the slum?

• What happens to the tons of e-waste produced by the West?

• What is the human and environmental impact of e-waste?

1. Reading Activity 

Find an article on e-waste, read the headlines and skim the article, underlining the main idea, key points and new vocabulary words.

2. Discussion Questions 

Respond to these questions on the reading activity.

• Why did you select this particular article to read?

• What is the main idea presented in the article?

• What are five facts you have learned about e-waste?

• What questions / concerns does the article raise for you?

• How has your understanding of the issue changed?

• What actions are you inspired to take regarding e-waste?


Write a summary and reaction based on the article you have read.


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