The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has admitted it lacks the capacity and personnel for effective and efficient control of electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) disposal.
Mr Michael Kwakye, EPA Senior Programme Officer, said the challenge of e-waste disposal control was also compounded by the lack of guidelines to address the specific requirements for e-waste management.
“There are no effective mechanisms to regulate the generation, collection, storage, transportation, importation and exportation of e-waste, which would ensure environmentally sound recycling regime,” Mr Kwakye stated at a day’s seminar on e-waste disposal in Accra.
The seminar, which was to expose participants to the harmful effects of e-waste, had the theme: “The Consequences of E-waste on Ghana’s Health and Environmental Development”.
The seminar was also to educate the public on EPA’s mandate, which includes creating of awareness and mainstreaming environmental issues into the development process at the national, regional, district and community levels.
It also seeks to ensure that the implementation of environmental policy and planning are integrated and consistent with the country’s desire for effective, long-term maintenance of environmental quality.
Dr. Edith Clarke, Occupational and Environmental Health Unit Officer, Ghana Health Service, expressed concern about the unsystematic e-waste disposal throughout the country.
She said: “The practice of burning electrical and electronic waste endangers the lives of all others living within close proximity who inhale the fume. “People living in James Town and its environs, such as Agbogboloshie, Abossey Okai area including worshippers at both the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), and the Central Mosque face serious health hazard due to pollution from the e-waste disposal site.”
The participants called for the establishment of an e-waste collection system, building of an environmentally sound refurbishment and recycling plant, and promulgation of e-waste legislation for mandatory provisions for reduction in hazardous substances and producer responsibility.
The e-waste legislation, the participants noted, should provide enabling policies and procedures that would be legally binding for producers, collection agencies, dismantlers, recyclers, transporters and handlers of e-waste.
They also tasked the EPA to develop a mechanism for regulating the changeover from analogue electronic device to digital as the process would create huge disposal challenges.
The participants appealed to the Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and Ghana Standards Board to check the import of analogue electronic devices to ensure that Ghana did not become a dumping ground.
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