What used to be the pristine waters of the Korle Lagoon in the city of Accra, Ghana, West Africa, is now an electronics dumpsite that is so toxic that neither fish nor worms can survive.

The children that work on this e-waste dumpsite burn computers in order to extract any valuable metals that might fall to the ground. In the process, they expose themselves to toxic fumes that gather in their clothes, skin, and lungs. There are no environmental regulations, and without protective clothing, these children are exposed to chemical fumes daily, risking their health to live and work in the dumpsite. Many live in small shacks—lacking running water and electricity—and the lagoon serves as their source of water for bathing and washing clothing, despite the extreme levels of pollution.

In our quest for technological advancement, continuously moving on to the latest electronic update, we must consider what we waste: here are the remains from the cast-off computers of the Western world.

—Renée C. Byer

Editors’ Note: Don’t miss the work of
all the other winners and finalists from the LensCulture Earth Awards 2015. In total, you’ll find 34 unique points of view inspired by the earth, nature and our shared surroundings. Beauty, destruction, wonder and hope—these are timely, important works that shouldn’t be missed!

These photos were published as part of the book ”Living on a Dollar a Day.” Find out more about the book, the organization that conceived of the idea, The Forgotten International, and how you can help alleviate global poverty.