NAIROBI (Xinhua) – The United Nations Environment on Saturday urged African states to develop policies to promote recycling of e-waste.
Abdouraman Bary, Regional Sub-programme Coordinator Chemicals, Waste and Air Quality at the United Nations Environment told a forum in Nairobi that Africa faces a growing problem of e-waste due to increased use of electronic devices.
“Prudent policies that promote recycling of e-waste could help the region tackle its growing e-waste problem,” Mr Bary said during celebrations to mark the International E-waste Day.
He said the policies could put in place tax incentives to encourage recycling of e-waste to prevent obsolete electronics from being dumped into landfills.
He also called for regulations to prevent importation of electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life because it increases the continent’s e-waste problem.
He observed that African countries currently don’t have facilities to effectively recycle e-waste.
According to the UN official, e-waste does contain important raw materials that can be used in industrial sectors.
In addition, he said that recycling of e-waste could be a source of employment for millions of youth.
Mr Bary said that recycling of e-waste does occur in small scale in Africa but it needs to be further regulated to prevent it from polluting the environment.
He said that while most of the countries in the continent have developed general laws to protect the environment from pollutants, only few have developed specific legislation to tackle e-waste.
Mr Bary noted that burning of e-waste is very prevalent in the continent as a means of recovering metals from electronics.
“This is a very harmful because it leads to pollution of the environment,” he said.