A certificate of registration will now be issued by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to producers wishing to introduce any type of electronic and electrical waste into the country. This is a regulation that NEMA is pushing for to ensure there is an effective way of disposing and managing e-waste to preserve the environment.
NEMA made the announcement at a forum organized by Computers for Schools Kenya (CfSk) and Waste Electrical and Electronics Equipment (WEEE) center on sustainable environmentally friendly management of e-waste in Nairobi.
E- Waste or electronic waste is a term used in disposing of electrical or electronic devices. The devices such as computers, office electronic equipment, mobile phones, refrigerators, and television sets are majorly classified for recycling, resale, reuse or recovering. It has mainly been driven by the technology boom, rapid changes in the configuration of electronic devices, attractive offers that accompany technological advances and availability of new and recycled devices.
Making a presentation on the role of policy makers in the management of e-waste in Kenya, NEMA Senior Compliance, and Enforcement Officer, Immaculate Simiyu said that regulation is important as it seeks to control or regulate producers, recyclers, and generators of e-waste. “The regulation will link recyclers and producers, who are bringing products to the market, adding to that the producer, will give information to the recycler on how to recycle that product when it becomes obsolete. Thirdly, it will properly guide the generator on how to dispose the e-waste,” she observed.
“Therefore we are sensitizing the public to know that they too have a responsibility of managing e-waste and solid waste. To effect this, we have a department of environmental education and public participation under NEMA that promotes proper waste management. Also, we have collaborated with National Environmental Trust Fund (NETFUND), Nairobi County Government and environmental clubs to ensure due diligence on waste are followed.
E-waste management and control continues to be a challenge for most African countries. An e-waste conference held in March this year highlighted the gaps existing to manage its production. Delegates attending the conference agreed that African countries have weak legal regimes that cannot be relied on to control production, user handling, and disposal of electronic waste. They noted that none of the African countries has legislation on e-waste management. In cases where Bills have been developed, they are still pending in Parliament.
According to a baseline study done by Kenya ICT Action Network in 2008, there is still need to create awareness in the government of the e-waste challenge. Besides that, the study indicated that it was difficult to get a good sense of e-waste volumes from the site and little awareness was done on the potential hazard effects on the ground.