By James Ratemo in Nairobi
Kenya’s power to mange e-waste menace has gone a notch higher following Safaricom Foundation’s move to donate a Sh4 million e-waste grinder to Computer for Schools Kenya (CFSK), which is in the business of safe e-waste disposal.
Environmental groups in Kenya estimate that 3000 tons of e-wastes are disposed off in Kenya, describing this as a time-bomb that will soon explode if not properly managed.
Experts argue that Kenya needs to identify and map environmental impact of e-waste, capacity constraints on disposal of e-waste and the collection system and recycling infrastructure of e-waste to effectively tackle the e-waste problem,
The obsolete equipment disposed off in Kenya include – computers, televisions, mobile phones, batteries and even fridges which are highly toxic and if not handled properly will lead to cases of cancer, respiratory and skin diseases due to poisonous by-products such as lead cadmium and mercury.
Worse still many households and organisations have not adopted the art of safe e-waste disposal and often ‘dead’ electronics find way to garbage sites across the country.
This is despite CFSK’s capacity to handle more e-waste.
The Safaricom Head of Corporate Responsibilities Ms. Sanda Ojiambo said the grinder will enable CFSK’s cope with an increase in e-waste disposal by organisations that are continually upgrading their electronics.
“We regard the Foundation’s donation as part of a multi-stakeholder Private Public Partnership effort in tackling e-waste,” said Ms. Ojiambo.
The Executive Director of CFSK, Dr. Thomas Musili said the grinder grinds 500 kilos of ABS an hour, equivalent to 4 tons of powder a day. “We now need another machine to mould the shredded plastics,” said Dr. Musili.
The donation from Safaricom Foundation comes even as environmental experts are now urging for the formulation and adoption of clear policy guidelines to tackle the problem of e-waste management, which is increasingly becoming a major environmental concern.
CFSK, which got its first e-waste grinding machine in 2009, has so far ground over 20 tons of ABS plastics. Plans are underway to purchase an extruder machine for moulding the product to manufacture fencing poles and other building materials.
Internationally, China, India and Pakistan are leading as countries that receive much of the world’s e-waste. Kenya is not spared and though not handling as much e-waste as the three countries mentioned, it is in bad shape since no formal systems exist for recycling of e-waste.
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