Due to the lack of specialist treatment and management of e-waste, many people have been resorting to burning the devices or selling them to scrap dealers and recyclers, or just throwing them away as the quick ways of disposing of them.
National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is in final stages of
setting up a national collection and disposal centre for electric and
electronic equipment that are at or near the end of their useful life.
Tom Okurut, the Executive Director NEMA says when electronic waste is
disposed of or recycled without any controls, there are predictable
negative impacts on the environment and human health.
that to minimize the impact on the environment and people’s health, the
proposed facility will offer specialist treatment of the waste
generated from electronic (e-waste) before they are disposed or sold for
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said collection and disposal facility which is expected to start
operation in one month will be hosted in sixth street, Kampala
industrial area. Dr. Okurut says the facility is being developed with
support from the military.
He further notes that after
mining the waste, the authority in with the new National Environment
Act will be inviting manufacturers of the respective equipment to
collect the toxic materials.
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the early 1990s, there has been a steady increase in the number of
electronic equipment imported as new and second hand much of which has
already become waste (e-waste). A 2017 UN Environment Agency survey
estimated Uganda’s stockpile of e-waste at an annual growth rate of
Due to the lack of specialist
treatment and management of e-waste, many people have been resorting to
burning the devices or selling them to scrap dealers and recyclers, or
just throwing them away as the quick ways of disposing of them.
Mugerwa, dealer in e-waste at Kiteezi landfill, says that much of the
waste is sorted in search of spare parts while some devices are burnt in
search of copper wires.
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Dr. Okurut says burning electronic waste is very dangerous since they
contain a thousand substances with high concentrations of toxic heavy
metals, such as lead, mercury, arsenic among others that create dioxins
emissions when burned.
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Muramuzi, the Executive Director of the National Association of
Professional environmentalists, setting up such a facility is long
overdue given the fact that Ugandans are unaware of e-waste management
with many blindly exposing their lives to the damaging effects of
e-waste, some for economic reasons, leading to negative health effects
which would have been prevented.
"It is a good move. But
there are a few things that Nema must address; the level of efficient of
the equipment that they indent to use to do the job and sustain the
operations at the facility," says Muramuzi.
further stresses that the environment body must clarify on how the
mined toxic materials will be transported to their countries of origin.
is simple to state that these companies will take this waste back to
their countries to burn them safely and completely (as required by the
law). But, am afraid that is too idealistic and can only be believed
after happening. Nema should explain how they expect this to work," he