President Akufo-Addo says the threat posed by electronic waste (e-waste) to the lives in Ghana will soon be a thing of the past by virtue of the comprehensive e-waste recycling programme his government has developed.
Addressing participants at a ceremony to outdoor government’s agenda for the implementation of a national integrated electronic waste (e-waste) management programme under the theme, Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917), the President said the downside of the Information and Communication Technology revolution has meant the production of high volumes of electronic and electrical waste.
“It is estimated that some forty (40) to fifty (50) million tonnes of e-waste are generated annually,” the President said.
Ghana as one of several developing countries in the world serves as the final destination of majority of the e-waste generated, putting the country in harm’s way through some of the hazardous heavy metals like mercury and lead that are generated as a result of e-waste.
This reality of a global threat is reason enough for Ghana to develop a strategy to deal with e-waste. “The onus is therefore on government to institute and enforce policy and legal frameworks for the control and management of electrical equipment throughout their life cycles,” the President said.
To that end, the President indicated that the programme of government will first of all designate an external service provider (SGS) to verify steps and collect the advance recycle eco-fee on all electrical and electronic equipments under the fifth schedule of Act 917, imported from all exporting countries. Second is the establishment of a state of the art recycling facility to be constructed in Agbobloshie in fulfilment of section 31 of Act 917.
The President observed that the construction of the recycling facility will not be a stand alone entity. There will be a component of the project that will establish a network of collection components to provide continuous supply of raw material to sustain the operations of the facility. The component will also provide 22,000 self sustaining jobs for the youth of the country.
President Akufo Addo charged members of the Scrap Dealers Association of Ghana to take full advantage of the programme. He appealed to them to halt the burning of electrical and electronic waste as it only pollutes the environment and the quality of air we breath. Instead, they ought to take advantage the opportunity offered by the new programme and expand their businesses.
Gratitude to Planners
The President expressed great delight at the work done so far by the Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation Ministry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for the work done so far to implement and plan to arrest the e-waste threat.
In a statement, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong – Boateng, said the construction a state of the art e-waste processing plant will commence in October this year at Abgobloshie. He added that the said construction will permanently transform the area as an e-waste hub into a major e-waste recycling hub in West Africa.
E-waste is generated when old electrical or electronic gadgets are discarded improperly causing danger to the environment. Research however shows that ninety nine percent (99%) of all generated e-waste is recyclable. The problem however has to do with the fact that this generated waste is not placed at the right place. Lead, Mercury and cadmium, are the most common hazardous chemical components that are found in e-waste. These chemicals pose a serious health risk.