By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA
Cape Coast, March 14, GNA – Health and Safety Ghana (HESAG), Ghana’s premier health and safety think tank, has underscored the need for an integrated e-waste management system to save the country’s forests and future generation.
This, it advocated, would ensure that harmful elements associated with hazardous and other waste products were captured and processed safely to preserve critical ecological components such as soil, groundwater, flora and fauna.
Mr Dzifa Ahazi, President of HESAG, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Cape Coast.
Mr Ahadzi called for the enforcement of the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917) to ensure sound waste management and recycling system in the country.
He said though Ghana is a signatory to the Basel Convention which seeks to provide a framework for the international regulation for e-waste, little has been done in that direction.
He indicated that it was important to devise a more sustainable approach in relation to the electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) - mobile phones, radio and television sets 'after their useful life'.
The nation was estimated to import about 215,000 tons of EEE annually out of which 170,000 tons were second hand goods with about 22,000 tons being complete waste.
Mr Ahadzi said it was important to ensure an integrated e-waste management system involving a combination of sustainable techniques for collection, sorting, recycling, thermal treatment, and pollution control and landfill methods to achieve maximum effectiveness.
“As more companies continue to put out new products, consumers continue to buy them, continuing the cycle and generating an ever-growing tide of discarded electronic devices. Industry will have to continue developing best practices for processing and recycling electronic waste,” he said.
He said an integrated e-waste management would also provide opportunities for industry and environmental research such that innovative and efficient recycling processes could be developed and transferred to other countries.
According to him, even though the large part of e-waste constituted iron, steel and precious metals such as gold, copper, palladium, silver, platinum and cobalt, they provided economic incentive for recycling.
Mr Ahadzi said despite the economic benefits, recycling of electronic waste products would reduce environmental pollution by conserving virgin resources, whose extraction goes along with severe damages to entire ecosystems.
He said government could create a lot of employment opportunities for its huge unemployed youth by partnering with the private sector to establish e-waste recycling centres in various parts of the country.