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General News of Sunday, 23 August 2020

Source: GNA

Eight arrested for burning e-waste at Agbobloshie

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A team of officers from the Accra Regional Police Command and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has arrested eight scrap dealers for allegedly engaging in open burning of electronic waste at Agbobloshie, in Accra.

Chief Superintendent of Police, Samuel Kwesi Ofori, the Accra Regional Police Operations Commander told the media the act was an offense contrary to the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act (Act 917) by Parliament in 2016.

He said the suspects were apprehended in the act by the joint team at the said location.

Mr Ofori said their statements had been taken and investigations had commenced to ensure swift prosecution to serve as a deterrent to others.

He said the operation would be sustained and expanded to other parts of the country to protect the environment from pollution and harmful substances emanating from the open burning of e-waste materials.

Mr John A. Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director of the EPA said before the operation his outfit had series of engagement with both the leadership and members of scrap dealers on how to safely go about their business.

He said studies conducted by the EPA had revealed that the open burning of e-waste, which contained metals including led, mercury, and persistent organic pollutant could cause cancers.

Mr Pwamang said the practice did not only pose a health risk to residents living around where such activities took place but also to the very people who engaged in the act.

He said statistics showed that an estimated 40 to 50 million tons of e-waste was generated annually, with Ghana serving as the final destination for e-wastes from the Western world.

Mr Pwamang noted that used electronic and electrical equipment imported into the country continued to be the major source of electronic waste, as many had not been tested for functionality, and in contravention of regional and international laws, such as the Bamako Convention, the Basel Convention, and European Union e-waste shipment regulations.

He said to address the problem of the burning of electrical wires for copper recovery, Pure Earth, with local partners like the Green Advocacy Ghana, KFS and the Greater Accra Scrap Association (GASDA) supported by GIZ opened an e-waste recycling facility at Agbogbloshie, Accra, in 2014.

Mr Pwamang said it was worrying that though the facility housed wire-stripping granulator machines in blue shipping containers inside the scrapyard, some scrap dealers had refused to follow the best practices.