Will Ghanaian fishermen be forced to become pirates of the highs seas?
The oceans have become the dumping grounds of the world and the technology age is ensuring human beings are eating toxic fish caught off the African coastline.
A report published by the Global Post has revealed some grim statistics:
100 million: The weight, in tons, of all plastic litter in the world’s oceans.
13,000: The estimated number of plastic pieces, on average, in one square kilometer of ocean
8 million: The number of pieces of marine litter, from ships and land runoff, that enter the oceans each day
1.69 billion: The weight, in pounds, of cigarette butts littered each year
3,454,542: The number of cigarette butts that wash up on the Pacific coast of America each month
600: The approximate lifespan, in years, of the most durable plastics in the ocean
3: The number of years the World Wildlife Fund claims it will take for Mediterranean Blue fin Tuna to go extinct
3 billion: The number of people worldwide who rely on the ocean for essential nutrition.
Ever wonder what happens to that mobile phone you just toss away when you get the latest model? Or what happens to the old computer or lap top when the affluent of the world gets the newest upgrade?
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(Above: There is an ever increasing amount of electronic waste in the world)
It is estimated that up to 80 % of America’s electronic waste or e waste ends up in the oceans of Ghana, Namibia and India.
According to estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency, around 40 million computers are discarded each year in the US alone.
It costs about €3.50 to properly dispose of an old CRT monitor in Germany. But it costs only €1.50 to stick it on a container ship to Ghana.
The world produces between 30 – 50 million tons of e waste according to Time Magazine and much of it lands up in African coastal waters.
The ironic part about dumping of e waste off the coast of Ghana is that America imported about $ 12 million of tuna from Ghana in 2008, many of which could be contaminated with cadmium, mercury and arsenic from discarded computers and lap tops.
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(Above: Fishermen from Ghana head out to sea to try catch some of the ever dwindling stocks of fish off their coastline)
The Somalian pirates have stated in the past that they hijack ships to ensure those responsible for dumping toxic waste in their territorial waters were taxed. Funnily enough the acts of piracy off Somalia will probably ensure the restocking of the fish population of Somalia.
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(Above: The Somalian coast guard. Are they guarding against illegal dumping of e waste in their waters as well as against pirates?)
As catches diminish for the Ghanaian fishermen and their fish become more and more toxic will they too be forced to become pirates of the high seas to ensure their survival?