a 5-day training workshop on Electronic Waste(E-Waste) Management

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation ( MESTI) in collaboration with Mountain Research Institute (MRI) and GIZ-Ghana organized a 5-day training workshop on Electronic Waste(E-Waste) Management from Monday, 29th August to Friday, 2nd September 2022 for Selected MMDAs at the Anita Hotel in Ejisu. The Purpose of the training workshop was to build the capacity of participants on E-waste management and to develop by-laws on E-Waste to help manage e-waste effectively and efficiently. The workshop sought to equip participants with requisite skills, knowledge and understanding on how MMDAs can effectively collaborate with stakeholders(scrapdealers) on ensuring an environmentally sound and sustainable management of E-waste in their respective Assemblies. The following Officers represented the Suame Municipal Assembly at the Workshop;

Name                                                              Designation

  1. David Oppong Darko                                     Environmental Health Analyst
  2. Vida Osei-Agyemang                                     Senior Planning Officer
  3. Ismael Asamoah                                             Assistant Environmental Health Analyst
  4. Victoria Akosua Asuo                        Assistant Environmental Health Analyst

2.0 TOPICS TREATED DURING THE TRAINING WORKSHOP

The following areas/ topics were treated during the training workshop;

  • GIZ E-Waste Programme Ghana; Supporting Ghana in Introducing Sustainable E-Waste Management
  • Electronic Waste: Environment and Society
  • Legal Framework for E-Waste Management at the MMDAs
  • Management of E-Waste Fund in Ghana
  • Introduction to Manual Dismantling
  • Group Dismantling Activity
  • Incentive Based Collection of E-Waste Types/Fractions
  • Strategies to Include the Informal Sector in E-Waste Related Activities at the MMDAs
  • E-Waste Plastic Identification and Management

3.0 KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • E-Waste refers to “any electronic gadget that has come to the end of its useful life and has been discarded”
  • All electronic gadgets have planned obsolescence and contains both precious and hazardous substances/components.
  • The precious components are those sought for by scrap dealers while the hazardous substances contaminate the soil and the burning of the cable wires and other plastics continuously pollutes the atmosphere contributing to the challenges of climate change, pollution of underground water and surface water, choking water ways and drains that causes flooding and air pollution.
  • E-waste materials are not only a source of environmental contamination but also pose significant human health risks if improperly managed.

E-waste management as well has a great impact on the country’s efforts to achieving SDG Goals such as Goal 3 (Good Health), Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation),Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth),Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and Goal 13 (Climate Actions) among others.

  • Scrap dealers include e-waste pickers/ collectors, dismantlers, transporters of e-waste, owners of scrap yards, recyclers of e-waste into iron /coal pots among others.
  • Scrap dealers provide very essential services by getting E-Waste out of our homes and our environment.
  • There is a National E-waste Strategy proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)which includes intervention in Policy and Legislation, Business and Financing, Technology and Skills, Marketing as well as Awareness and Education.
  • A National Integrated E-Waste Management Programme has been launched to fully operationalise the implementation of the E-Waste Management Act, Act 917.
  • kfW, a German organisationis currently supporting Ghana to set up an incentive mechanism for sound disposal, collection and recycling of e-waste in order to reduce the damage to the environment and human health.

3.1 WAY FORWARD

Considering the negative effects of the hazardous components of E-Waste on the environment, there is the need for MMDAs to shift from the business as usual approach to E-waste management to a more sustainable and environmentally sound way of managing E-waste. MMDAs therefore ought to

  • Streamline and regulate the activities of Scrap Dealers within their respective jurisdictions
  • Ensure proper disposal and treatment of E-Waste
  • Safeguard the environment by reducing pollution from e-waste
  • Provide incentives for the collection of e-waste
  • Educate the public on safe disposal and negative effects of electronic waste
  • Minimize negative environmental and human health impacts from improper management of electronic wastes.
  • Support scrap dealers to transition from the informal and polluting e-waste recovery activities to a more formal approach without taking away jobs from the lowest income groups.

4.0 Strategies that can be adopt by MMDAs to Manage E-Waste Sustainably

There is the need for MMDAs to streamline the activities of scrap dealers who are purely in the informal sector and contribute immensely in E-waste management. To address the dangers posed by their activities to their health, public health and the environment. MMDAs can therefore adopt the following strategies among others to regulate the activities of the scrap dealers in their areas of Jurisdiction;

  1. Developing legal regulatory framework (Bye-laws) to guide the operations of e-waste related activities by scrap dealers within the Municipality.
  2. Scoping study-to map out all scrap yards in the Municipality to identify scrap dealers and operators.
  3. Identifying the leadership of the scrapyards to get information of the operators within the district (population)
  4. Supporting scrap dealers to organise themselves by forming associations
  5. Giving skills training to help them improve their activities, health, safety, the environment, working conditions and their income levels
  6. Ensure the strict enforcement of regulations ensuring environmentally sustainable ways of managing e-waste.
  7. Recognize and reward scrap dealers who conform to regulations. For example, organize award ceremonies and present certificates to law abiding/environmentally friendly dealers.
  8. Collaborate with EPA to setup e-waste Collection Centers in the metropolis
  9. Create the enabling environment for the establishment of E-waste recycling factory within Municipalities.
  • Recommendations to the Suame Municipal Assembly:

The team recommends the following for immediate consideration by the Assembly;

  1. That, the Assembly should map out the locations of all scrap yards and  dealers in the Municipality to get a database of all scrap dealers.
  2. Support and facilitate Scrap dealers without association to form one
  3. Allocate space for the construction of e-waste holding center
  4. Enact bye-laws to regulate the activities of scrap dealers in the Municipality to facilitate and give  permit for their operations
  5. Organize periodic meetings with the scrap dealers to address their concerns and also agree with them on how they can pay revenues to the Assembly
  6. Organize periodic training workshop for the scrap dealers to boost their capacity.
  7. Appoint a Desk Officer at the Assembly premises to liaise between the Assembly and scrap dealers 
  8. Educate the general public on E-waste and its impacts on human health and the environment

6.0 Conclusion

The activities of scrap dealers can contribute immensely to the Assembly’s revenue generation efforts if well managed by the Assembly. More so, considering the harm caused by the activities of scrap dealers as indicated above, there is the urgent need by the Suame Municipal Assembly to regulate their activities to safeguard the environment for residents and generations to come. Since informality affects the labor market in the Municipality in different degrees and manifestation of which the activities of scrap dealers is not an exception, it is very prudent for the Suame Municipal Assembly to adopt the strategies proposed above and integrate into it’s Medium-Term Development Plans and Annual Action Plans to safeguard lives and promote a sustainable environment to enhance city life in its quest at fulfilling its mission.

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