"Through jaw-dropping artistry, this stunning film plunges us deep into a shockingly dystopian universe, straight out of a Ridley Scott flick." - Filmmaker Magazine
"This impeccably lensed picture takes an unflinching look at the place where our laptops and smartphones will likely end up—a sprawling waste dump in Ghana populated by 6,000 men, women and children." - Roger Ebert.com
"Roams between the never-ending blazes, designed to burn out copper, to the noise of constant hammering, flies and lifting filth, in a documentary which eschews easy categorization." - Screen Daily
This gripping exposé of a dumpsite for electronics in Ghana gives voice to its marginalized population of recyclers, as it explores a poisonous side of globalization and the systematic exploitation of the people and environment of Africa.
Agbogbloshie is a wetland outside Accra, Ghana known as the world’s foremost dumping site for unwanted electronics. Every year, about 250,000 tons of discarded computers, smartphones, air conditioners and other devices from the electrified, digital world continents away are shipped here illegally. Aptly renamed “Sodom” by its disillusioned inhabitants, the constant flames of burning plastic over the blackened ground of scorched computer parts accumulate into an apocalyptic sight that evokes visions of biblical infernos. And because the landfill is built on water, sometimes people do sink and never reappear.
Over 6,000 men, women, and children live here in desperate poverty, using simple yet inventive means to extract recyclable value from endless piles of discarded electronics, subjecting themselves to grave health risks in the process. The most demanding physical labor is often done by the many young migrants who arrive in search of work. One university-educated Gambian, both Jewish and gay, lives here in exile from persecution back home. Children tend to comb the ground for scraps of iron; one hopes to someday become an astronaut. Despite the reality of Agbogbloshie, he is far from its only inhabitant to hold onto big dreams, the most of common of which may be migrating to Europe.
The stories of these and other protagonists help to unravel the complex inter-connected reality of modern life, and the grave environmental and human toll of mass consumerism. From the rapid advancement of technology and its built-in obsolescence to the disregard of so-called "externalities" from the macroeconomic and capital asset pricing models that drive the global economy -- the real environmental consequences the system produces may never end up on national or corporate balance sheets, but that cannot diminish their reality.
With its biblical underworld aesthetics, Welcome to Sodom offers a gripping glimpse into this reality in all its ugliness.
92 Minutes | English