NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is formulating a new law that will help in the disposal and re-use of e-waste materials in the country.
Speaking to Capital FM News, NEMA deputy director on environment education and public awareness, Betty Nzioka said the law will enable the authority to register producers and manufacturers who are introducing new or used electrical appliances in the country.
“Electronic waste is the new emerging type of waste which has not been before discussed a lot or envisaged as a problem,” Nzioka noted.
“Once registered, she said they will, “also be expecting them to provide an annual report on how much they have brought and what they project to import in the coming year.”
She said the law will also enable them to register recyclers who will recycle the waste in the country through echo friendly ways.
“Recycler will provide solution to this problem. They will provide an echo friendly technology of dismantling e-waste when it becomes obsolete,” she said. “This law is aimed at defining what e-waste is and what needs to be done and who is responsible for different things.”
She revealed that 60 percent of e-waste materials in the country come from the informal sectors.
A research on the amount of e-waste materials in the country by UNEP in 2010, revealed that statistics on e-waste generated in the country are; 11,400 tonnes from refrigerators, 2,800 tonnes from TVs, 2,500 tonnes from personal computers, 500 tonnes from printers and 150 tonnes from mobile phones which Nzioka noted have changed attributing to various factors.
“Kenya has reached a mobile penetration rate of more than 63 percent and an Internet penetration of more that 18.6 percent. The number of Internet users has also increased.”
“ICT is being extensively used in the education, health, industrial, trade and communication sectors. Private sector has been installing heavy computing equipments and data centers, mainly mobile operators, banks, and manufacturing sector companies and now with the laptop project, it is expected to increase more.”
“We all know that we have increased the usage of electronic devices either on personal level or as institutions…they stay for long until they are no longer useful,” she added.
The e-waste law once it comes into effect will attract imprisonment of three years or a fine of Sh2 million to those who break the law.
“This law is a step forward in strengthening the waste management authority that was gazetted before (2006) which had not provided any provisions on management of e-waste,” she stated.
“E-waste is indeed a new waste that requires specialised disposal through the echo friendly technology in dismantling, because e-waste materials have harmful products that can harm human life.”
The National Environment Management Authority will establish collecting centres across the country for the waste where owners will be given incentives.
The law is on its final draft awaiting a stakeholder forum for public participation as required by the Constitution, “for comments and to inform them on its requirements…later it will be forwarded to the cabinet secretary for signature ahead of the gazettement.”
“E-waste are harmless until you start dismantling, but with proper handling it help recover good materials and recycle them for new use which we call ‘urban mining’,” she affirmed.