Breaking

NEMA to Set Up National E-Waste Collection, Disposal Centre 

Due to the lack of specialist treatment and management of e-waste, many people have been resorting to burning the devices or selling them to scrap dealers and recyclers, or just throwing them away as the quick ways of disposing of them.
Currently there is no place where people and firms can properly dispose e-waste in Uganda. The only available option is burning it in open air.

Audio 3



The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is in final stages of setting up a national collection and disposal centre for electric and electronic equipment that are at or near the end of their useful life.   

Dr. Tom Okurut, the Executive Director NEMA says when electronic waste is disposed of or recycled without any controls, there are predictable negative impacts on the environment and human health.

He adds that to minimize the impact on the environment and people’s health, the proposed facility will offer specialist treatment of the waste generated from electronic (e-waste) before they are disposed or sold for recycling.  

//Cue in: “The cell phones...

Cue out...electronic waste.”//   

The said collection and disposal facility which is expected to start operation in one month will be hosted in sixth street, Kampala industrial area. Dr. Okurut says the facility is being developed with support from the military.  

   

He further notes that after mining the waste, the authority in with the new National Environment Act will be inviting manufacturers of the respective equipment to collect the toxic materials.    

//Cue in: “Now we are...

Cue out...the centres.”//    

Since the early 1990s, there has been a steady increase in the number of electronic equipment imported as new and second hand much of which has already become waste (e-waste). A 2017 UN Environment Agency survey estimated Uganda’s stockpile of e-waste at an annual growth rate of 25,000 tons.     

Due to the lack of specialist treatment and management of e-waste, many people have been resorting to burning the devices or selling them to scrap dealers and recyclers, or just throwing them away as the quick ways of disposing of them.    

Musa Mugerwa, dealer in e-waste at Kiteezi landfill, says that much of the waste is sorted in search of spare parts while some devices are burnt in search of copper wires.    

Luganda byte //Cue in: “Temuli nnyo mugaso...

Cue out...tewaba ngeri ndalala.”//  

However, Dr. Okurut says burning electronic waste is very dangerous since they contain a thousand substances with high concentrations of toxic heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, arsenic among others that create dioxins emissions when burned.    

//Cue in: “You might want...

Cue out...them inside.”//    

Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director of the National Association of Professional environmentalists, setting up such a facility is long overdue given the fact that Ugandans are unaware of e-waste management with many blindly exposing their lives to the damaging effects of e-waste, some for economic reasons, leading to negative health effects which would have been prevented. 

"It is a good move. But there are a few things that Nema must address; the level of efficient of the equipment that they indent to use to do the job and sustain the operations at the facility," says Muramuzi.

Muramuzi further stresses that the environment body must clarify on how the mined toxic materials will be transported to their countries of origin. 

"It is simple to state that these companies will take this waste back to their countries to burn them safely and completely (as required by the law). But, am afraid that is too idealistic and can only be believed after happening. Nema should explain how they expect this to work," he adds.

Images 1