General News of Thursday, 17 January 2013
Source: The Republic
‘E-Waste is harmful but beneficial to the Economy if…..’ -MP
By: Romeo Adzah Dowokpor/The Republic
The Member of Parliament for Juaben, Hon. Ama Pomaa Andoh, has stated that in spite of the harmful effects of electronic waste (e-waste) to both human lives and the environment, it can also be of immense social and economic benefit to the state if properly managed.
She explained that the myriad of circuit boards, wires and electronic connections in gadgets like televisions, fridges, batteries and many other electronic products which make them function properly have become toxic to the environment due to the lack of a proper disposal mechanism after their users have abandon them.
The Juaben MP who is also one of the new and youthful entrants to Parliament stated this on the floor of the House when she delivered a statement on “Double Sides to Electronic Waste in Rural Ghana”.
“If these electronic devices are not properly disassembled for proper disposal, they can leak and contaminate their immediate environment, whether that’s in a landfill or on the streets within the community. Over time, the toxic chemicals of a landfill’s e-waste can seep into the ground (possibly entering the water supply) or escape into the atmosphere, affecting the health of nearby communities.” she said.
The Minority MP, however, quoting a report by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative and the United Nations University indicated that electronic waste contains 40-50 times the amount of gold in ore mined from the ground. According to the report, the electronic industry used 197 to 320 tons of gold between 2001 and 2011 and noted that not more than 15% of the gold in e-waste is being recovered in recycling processes.
She regretted the fact that many youth using unconventional methods in mining activities are losing their lives daily and destroying our vegetation cover and polluting water bodies but optimistic that the situation could have been avoided if there was a structured arrangement put in place for the proper recycling of e-waste in Ghana especially in the rural areas which is an avenue to generate employment opportunities.
“Recycling 100% of the metals obtained from the ore can reduce the environmental load to one three-hundredth the load created by mining. For example, around 10 tons of ore are needed to make a gold ring that weighs 10 grams, but only 0.037 tons are needed if the gold from cell phones is recycled”, she observed
Contributing to the statement on the floor of the House, Hon. Mustapha Ahmed ,MP for Ayawaso East informed the House that Cabinet has approved the Hazardous and e-waste Bill which would soon be gazetted and finally brought to Parliament with its subsequent passage into law.
The NDC MP assured Members that all the concerns raised by Hon. Ama Pomaa and every issue surrounding e-waste management and control have been adequately taken care of by recommendations and measures contained in the Hazardous and e-waste Bill.
As part of the recommendations, centers would be established across the country as main collection points for e-waste disposal and recycling. He mentioned that Nokia, Samsung and other electronic manufacturing companies whose products are widely used in Ghana have also expressed their readiness to establish such centers to collect their waste products in order to curb the e-waste menace