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NGO returns obsolete computers to UK for recycling

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Discarded computer cases in Ghana

In a bid to ensure responsible electronic waste disposal, CARE Computers for Developing Countries (CARE Ghana), recently shipped more than 300 computers and accessories back to the United Kingdom for recycling.

The spoilt items included 296 computers and 16 printers and the reshipment was sponsored by UK-based Edwards Vacuum Limited Crawley (EVLC), a vacuum pump manufacturing company based in West Sussex County.

Mr Jibreal Kweku Hagan, Executive Director of CARE International, the mother organisation of CARE Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday in Accra that EVLC sponsored the reshipment as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

He said the company, which he used to work for, was also part of the contributors and sponsors of computers and shipment from the UK to Ghana through the CARE project.

“The spoilt computers will be disposed of through sound environmental means, to comply with the Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) disposal guidelines and this will be done through PC waste recycling company, Onyx Environmental Trust, in the UK,” he said.

He said, ultimately, CARE was planning to establish a sustainable PC waste management scheme in Ghana by 2012, adding that it would be in partnership with UK base companies like MDJ Light Brothers.

Touching on what cause the damage to the computers, Mr Hagan noted that due to wrong documentation from the UK, the computers were delayed at the Tema port in Ghana and could not survive the hot climatic conditions they were exposed to at the port.

CARE Computers is a non governmental organisation dedicated to supplying used computers to schools and institutions in Ghana for free, whiles the beneficiary institutions made minimal financial contributions to defray the shipment cost.

CARE also has an arrangement with all beneficiary institutions to ensure environmental protection by collecting all plastic waste generated in those institutions in a recycle cage for onward delivery to BLOWPLAST Limited, a plastic recycling company at Tema.

Mr Hagan noted that CARE had from day one been committed to environmental protection and had therefore abhorred the manner in which spoilt computers were dumped and burnt near the Agbobloshie market in Accra.

“Burning computers releases toxins into the atmosphere, increases green house gases, causes pollution, destroys plants and vegetation, causes lung cancer and destroys organs of unborn babies,” he said

He noted that CARE’s commitment to environmental protection had culminated in the formation of eco-warriors, comprising of all students of the benefactor schools in the UK and beneficiary schools in Ghana, who collect the plastic waste, ensuring wise use of water and efficient use of energy.

He added that the eco-warriors were also committed to addressing climate change and global warming through best practices and the adoption of the three R’s – refuse, reduce, recycle.

Mr Hagan showed the GNA reporter some bags, toys and purses made out of plastic waste (empty sachet water containers) by both eco-warriors in Ghana and in the UK saying “these are ethical products that if we pay attention to, we can save our environment and benefit from recycled plastic waste.”

“Why litter Ghana with these plastic wastes when we can make use of them in these creative ways,” he asked.

He said the long-term plan of CARE was to ensure that 80 percent of Ghanaian schools were equipped with ICT Clubs by 2016 and also to establish more Eco-Clubs and Strong Environmental Action Teams (SEAT) in Ghana.

Source: GNA

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  1. CARE needs to be investigated further, I dont believe this whole PR that the GNA Journalist is desperately trying to do for this organisation called CARE, that is behind the shipment of near end of life and end of life computers for dumping in Ghana through the schools in Ghana. This whole issue of schools benefiting is pure lies and needs to be investigated furtyher. For starters did the GNA Journalist visit the schools to find out whether they are benefiting or not. Indeed I am by this calling on the government of Ghana to investigate the shipment of “used” computers by CARE computers who obviously are helping some UK recycling companies to dump these retired computers containing toxic material such as lead cadmium etc in Ghana. I know there are some crack investigative journalists in Ghana who can take on this issue and also investigate further. I simply do not believe this Journalist from GNA.

    We need to get to the bottom of this issue and expose those behind it. This issue cannot be swept under the carpet trust me there is more to this cow and bull story of the computers are meant for schools. We will get the list of schools visit the schools and interview the children and heads of the schools about the computers.

    The big question what happens to these computers when they get to their end of life in the Ghanaian schools? How many of these computers have been shipped back for recycling where is the documentation from customs and EPA?

    This matter cannot be shelved now, it should be of interest to Ghanaian officials and their counterparts in the UK as well as crack investigative Journalists concerned about the environment in both countries. I am pushing for this, I am working on the contacts in the UK and Ghana and lets see what comes out of it.