MP calls for proper management of e-waste in Ghana
The NPP Member of Parliament for Juaben on Friday expressed concerns about the build up of electronic waste (e-waste) in her constituency and said it is becoming a nuisance but if managed properly could generate immense social and economic benefit for the youth in the area.
Mrs Ama Pomaa, Andoh, making the first statement on the floor of the 6th parliament, said for a poor rural community like hers, the people can only afford used electronic gadgets such as televisions, fridges, mobile phones and batteries, most of which end up not being used and thus becoming waste products.
She said most of these gadgets, if not properly disassembled for proper disposal may leak and contaminate the environment and over time, the toxic chemicals seep into the atmosphere, affecting the health of the nearby communities.
However, Mrs Andoh said a report by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative and the United Nations University has said that e-waste contains some 40 to 50 times the amount of gold in ore mined from the ground.
“According to the report between 2001 and 2011, the electronic industry as a whole went from using 197 to 320 tons of gold. Everything from blenders to toy dinosaurs have microchips, most of which have some gold. Nevertheless, not more than 15 per cent of gold in e-waste is being recovered in recycling processes,” she added.
“We are throwing away a lot of gold and wasting energy and resource in mining the ore. Our future leaders, our youth, in some of our mining communities die daily using unconventional means of mining gold whilst destroying our environment and wasting resources through galamsey operations.”
According to Mrs Andoh, in the process of mining ore such as this, trees are cut down, mountains are levelled and rivers are polluted. On top of that the carbon foot print is increased with the materials being delivered to Europe, Asia and the Americas. This is before the metal has even gone through the manufacturing process.
“Mr Speaker, if this so called e-waste is properly managed and recycled by trained rural youth here in Ghana, a lot of metals inside these electronic devices can be recovered through conventional means instead of galamsey.”
“It is said that the amount of metal inside a cell phone amounts to around sixty times more than in ore. So we can produce metal, which is the same quality as mined metal in Ghana just collecting metal from these devices, without having to cut down trees or flatten mountains,” the MP said.
She said e-waste is growing about 20 per cent each year due to rising sales of electronic goods and legal and illegal imports of second hand and surplus equipment. E-waste can cause great harm to the environment, but on the other hand, can be used as a resource and economic stimulus.
By Eunice Menka