E-waste is menace to environment – Mahama
Vice President John Dramani Mahama, on Thursday stressed the need for developing countries to adopt a technology that would assist them dispose off their Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment properly.
He said e-waste had become a menace to the ICT industry as many of these equipment ended up in water bodies and landfill sites thereby polluting the environment.
Vice President Mahama made the call at the on-going International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Seminar on ITCs, Environment and Climate Change in Accra.
The two-day seminar, which attracted specialists across the country, was to prepare participants towards the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for Durban, South Africa in 2012.
It was on the theme: “Moving the Climate Change Agenda Forward through Green ICTs”.
The Vice President noted that the normal life span for Personal Computers were three years and it was wrong to allow people to import Personal Computers that were 10 years as they had no useful life span left.
He commended the ITU for organising the seminar and earlier conference this week and called for more rapid capacity building and awareness creation to move the ICT Climate Change Agenda forward.
Mr Malcolm Johnson, Director, Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau, ITU, said the seminar was a follow-up on the first successful symposium held in Kyoto in 2008, and similar events held since then in London, Quito, Seoul and Cairo.
He said the seminar would build on the discussions held in those previous events but offered a special opportunity for some reasons.
Mr Johnson said this would be the first time that the seminar would consider the broader issue of sustainable development, and possible input to the 2012 United nations Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20).
He said currently, a world without ICTs was unthinkable as ICTs were integrated into almost all parts of the society and economy.
“Yet, while the increasingly widespread use of ICTs has changed peoples’ lives dramatically and boosted economic growth, ICTs itself, due to this success, are a growing contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
“On the other hand, they probably provide the most significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the major high emissions industries of energy generation, waste disposal, building and transport,” he added.
Mr Johnson therefore urged the participants to make most of the opportunity to prepare for really bringing the message home to the negotiators in Durban that it was only through the application of ICTs that the required reduction in greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, said one area that all stakeholders must agree was the need to secure adequate financing and investment to address climate change aspect of national planning.
He said Ghana, just like the rest of the developing world, would require assistance to finance the activities focusing on adaptation; technology transfer and capacity building; energy; transport; industry; agriculture, waste management; and economic diversification and urged participants to address those concerns in their deliberations.
The Sector Minister noted that actions of the ICT industry had to be coordinated as part of a wider, global initiative, and “that is why the ITU must continue the engagement of all stakeholders.”
He assured ITU of Ghana’s commitment to securing a genuine change in the direction in which humanity is heading, in order to avoid a planetary crisis caused by climate change.
Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, said climate change and its negative effects were not because “the gods were angry with us” but it was real and needed immediate solution.
She called for private-public partnership to mitigate the country’s climate change agenda.