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Business News of Saturday, 27 April 2019


Agbogbloshie dump to remain open as EPA targets e-waste recycling facility

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no plans to immediately close down the Agbogbloshie e-waste dump site amid renewed concerns over its dire health and environmental implications.

John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director at the EPA, instead says there are plans to rope in scrap dealers into its more environmentally friendly plan for disposing of e-waste.

On the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Pwamang said: “those e-waste scrap dealers at Agbogbloshie and other scrap yards across the country are going to be collected under this system so there is no need to talk about closing them.” “We have already licensed a number of collection centres and the whole of last year, we went round major cities…to sensitise them on this new law and what their role is going to be,” he added.

The EPA’s comments on the status of what is regarded as the world’s largest e-waste dump come after an alarming report by UK-based The Guardian which noted that the hazardous chemicals are entering the food chain in Ghana from illegally disposed of electronic waste.

Agbogbloshie is the final resting space for millions of mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices dumped in other developing countries by wealthier nations.

Once in the dumpsite, toxic materials like mercury, cadmium, arsenic from the e-waste trickle into the environment contaminating land and the air.

The report cited research from two groups, Ipen and the Basel Action Network, which analysed eggs laid by the free-range chickens that roam freely in search for food in Agbogbloshie.

The report noted that an adult eating one egg in the Agbogbloshie dump site and slum would exceed the European Food Safety Authority limits on chlorinated dioxins 220 times over.

Mr. Pwamang tried to calm fears by suggesting that “this contamination could have been from historical activities.” But he admitted that more had to be done better to protect the environment and residents around the dump site who are at the mercy of the pollution and possible contamination.

On the drawing board of the EPA is better adherence to Electronic and Hazardous Waste Management Act which allows for the collection of an eco levy on electrical equipment when sold.

“The amount you pay for it includes the eco levy; the amount that is supposed to be used to ensure the environmentally sound disposal of the equipment when it gets to the end of its life,” the EPA director explained.

He also noted the need to keep the substandard goods from entering Ghana in the first place.

“If we can get a system to ensure that if a computer is more than a certain number of years, we don’t allow it like the same way we do with second-hand vehicles.”

In line with a more permanent solution, the EPA is looking towards the construction of an e-waste recycling facility.

“We want to set resources that will enable us to set up a system in place and also there is already an entrepreneur who has got the land at the Agbogbloshie area and also is organising the financing to set up an e-waste recycling facility,” Mr. Pwamang revealed.

“There is not going to be the need for any scrap dealer to burn because when the facility is completed, they will buy your e-waste at a price which is higher than what you will get when you even burn it.”