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The East African : June 2nd 2014
The EastAfrican 20 Special advertising section E-WASTE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS MAY 31-JUNE 6, 2014 East Af≥ican Community yet to d≥aft ≥egulations on management of e-waste The e-waste challenge began getting serious global attention the last decade. By EVANS ONGWAE Special Correspondent A frican countries are waking up to the ewaste problem. However, a number are yet to develop legislation governing the handling of hazardous electrical and electronic equipment. A 2012 global e-waste map shows that most East African countries were yet to fashion ewaste regulatory instruments. Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi were in this group two years ago. Kenya published the Environ- mental Management and Co-ordination (e-waste management) regulations, 2013, only last year. Uganda has in place the Electronic Waste Management policy since June 2010. It also prohibits importation of used refrigerators, freezers, computers and TVs, through its Act No. 14, 2009 on this subject. Reports show that the e-waste challenge began getting serious global attention the last decade. The 8th meeting of the Con- ference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, held in Nairobi in November 2006, under the theme, “Creating Innovative Solutions through the Basel Convention for the Environmentally Sound Management of Electronic Waste.” At this meeting, the Nairobi Declaration on the Environmentally Sound Management of Electrical and Electronic Waste and Decision VIII/2 were adopted, mandating actions to address the issue of electronic waste under the auspices of the Convention. According to Kenya’s Nation- al Environmental Management Authority/ Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (NEMA/MENR) December 2010, Guidelines for e-waste Management in Kenya, the ecological, economic and social consequences resulting from poor handling and management of e-waste are a myriad. They include: Environmental •Air pollution, especially when e-waste is burnt •Waste management problem of non-biodegradable equipment •Toxicity and radioactive na- ture of e-waste to the human, water, soil and animals •Blockage of water runoff channels •Increased amount of waste Improper disposal of e-waste is causing harm to the environment and people’s health. Picture: File •Waste management disposal problem Economic •Substantial public spending on health care •Investments in complex and expensive environment remediation technologies •Loss / waste of resources that can be recycled for re-use •Opportunities for recycling industries and employment lost Study on effects of e-waste An ongoing three year e-waste study on River Nairobi commissioned by the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation in 2013 has shown that there is e-waste in the river system, which is composed of solid materials, insoluble liquids greases and oils; and soluble ewaste. E-waste is mixed with other garbage in the dumpsites especially in Nairobi The study had as its broad objective the effect of electrical and electronic wastes on downstream communities, from source. CCK’s Charles Njoroge talking about e-waste at a workshop •Ozone depletion has led to unpredictable weather conditions. Prolonged droughts and floods demand the use of resources which should be deployed for growth and development in other sectors Social •E-waste affects people’s health (such as lead poisoning and cancerous mercury). •Growth of informal waste disposal centres in the neighborhood •Informal trade and manage- ment of e-waste •Loss of appreciation for ICT studies have shown that the e-waste problem is real. A three year e-waste study titled “Effects of Electronic Waste on Urban Water Ways; Case Study of Nairobi River in Kenya,” commissioned by the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) in 2013 is ongoing. The partners in this study are Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK)/ Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE Centre), Kenya Methodist University (KEMU), National Environmental Trust Fund (NETFUND), United States International University (USIU) and University of Nairobi (UoN). The work on the project began in May 2013. It had as its broad objective the effect of electrical and electronic wastes on downstream communities, source. E-waste is mixed with from other garbage in the dumpsites especially in Nairobi. Along with physico-chemical measurements of water in the rivers, it was imperative that a survey is carried out to make observations of the use — intensity of the river water and for what purposes. In addition, the prevalence of diseases for residents in the basin was to be monitored using data records from health centres and from it deductions be made about possible e-waste related diseases. The provisional results show that there is e-waste in the river system, which is composed of solid materials, insoluble liquids greases and oils; and soluble ewaste. The soluble materials is depos- ited in sediments and soils, in micro-invertebrates, fish, vegetables, plants and finally to man who is at the apex of the food chain. Their levels are seen to be bioaccumulative as they move from water to soils to food materials. Several ailments recorded in health centres are linked to ewaste.
May 26th 2014
June 9th 2014