Yvette Yaa Konadu Tetteh’s epic swim down the River Volta highlights the damage done to the country’s waterways by an out-of-control trade in secondhand clothes from the global north. As the 30-year-old swims, a crew shadows her on a solar-powered boat, named The Woman Who Does Not Fear, taking air and water samples along the way that will be analysed to measure pollution. It is hoped that the swim will draw attention to some of the pristine environments in Ghana, in contrast with places such as Korle Lagoon in the capital city of Accra, one of the most polluted water bodies on Earth. The swim is supported by the Or Foundation, of which Tetteh is a board member, that campaigns against textile waste in Ghana, one cause of increasing water pollution in the country. Ghana imports about 15m items of secondhand clothing each week, known locally as obroni wawu or “dead white man’s clothes”. In 2021, Ghana imported $214m of used clothes, making it the world’s biggest importer.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN