Image for 08/03/2010Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 29 minutes

With Londoners discarding over 4,000 TVs every day, Mark Jordan investigates the illegal trade in electronic waste and how gangs are illegally dumping tonnes of it in some of the world's poorest countries. Jo Good examines how the recession is killing the high street and why rock stars are dredging up Docklands' past.

  • Video: Electrical waste

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    London’s passion for new TVs and electrical gadgets is having repercussions thousands of miles away.

  • Dumping London's electrical waste

    We are getting good at recycling bottles and cans, but what about old electricals?

    Electrical, or E-waste, is our fastest growing form of rubbish. Eager for flat screens and HD pictures, London dumps more than 4,000 TVs daily.

    These TVs are packed with lead and toxic metals and law requires all electricals to be recycled within the UK.

    However London’s passion for new TVs and electrical gadgets is having repercussions thousands of miles away.

    To avoid paying for proper disposal in the UK, criminals ship containers of electrical waste and illegally dump it in Africa.

    They call it the Sodom and Gomorra slum in Ghana - hazardous electrical waste dumped as far as the eye can see.

    Its source is London’s banks, councils, hospitals and even a police force.

    It is hard to imagine this in England, where you can be fined for not sorting your recycling box properly.

    Yet somehow, tonnes of electrical waste are dumped in Ghana.

    We have banned the export of electrical waste, but that green law has turned toxic as criminals smuggle it out for recycling in one of the poorest countries on earth.

    Mark Jordan investigates.

  • Video - Rockers and dockers

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    A group of filmmakers and rock stars - including Carl Barat (The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things) and members of Babyshambles - are making a stylised documentary called The Rime of the Modern Mariner.

    The film celebrates the vanishing landscape and people that made up the old London Docklands.

    They interviewed several old dock workers at the last Seaman's Mission in Limehouse about their memories of working in the Port of London - back when goods from all over the world were unloaded there.

    The film's composer has created the music score from unusual Docklands' noises including the sound of St Anne's bell.

    BBC Inside Out London sent Jon McClure, lead singer of Reverend and the Makers, to follow their progress.

  • Video - London's 'ghost town' high streets

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    The depressing transformation of many of London’s high streets into rows of boarded-up windows and shuttered shopfronts is an increasingly familiar one.

    And according to recent research the number of vacant or derelict outlets on London’s high streets has trebled since the start of the recession, with one London shop in eight now boarded up.

    In fact, the situation is so dire that some economists are predicting that the devastating combination of high rents and rates with growing competition from online retailers and supermarkets mean that most closed shops will never re-open.

    BBC London’s Jo Good visited 'ghost town' high streets in West Ealing and Brixton, and found out what plans councils have to bring their shopping streets back to life.


Matthew Wright
Andy Richards


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