The Cost of Cobalt (2021)
Directed by Fiona Lloyd-Davies and Robert Flummerfelt, 25 mins
In the cobalt mining areas of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), babies are being born with horrific birth defects. Scientists and doctors are finding increasing evidence of environmental pollution from industrial mining which, they believe, may be the cause of a range of malformations from cleft palate to some so serious the baby is stillborn.
More than 60% of the world’s reserves of cobalt are in the DRC and this mineral is essential for the production of electric car batteries, which may be the key to reducing carbon emissions and to slowing climate change.
In The Cost of Cobalt we meet the doctors treating the children affected and the scientists who are measuring the pollution. Cobalt may be part of the global solution to climate change, but is it right that Congo’s next generation pay the price with their health? Many are hoping that the more the world understands their plight, the more pressure will be put on the industry here to clean up its act.
The panel discussion after the screening was moderated by Professor Alan Dangour, Director of the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Alan was in discussion with The Cost of Cobalt co-directors Fiona Lloyd-Davies and Robert Flummerfelt, and Green Warriors director Martin Boudot.
The replay can be found below, along with an extended conversation between journalist Anita Makri and The Cost of Cobalt team: