. Earth Science News .

Africa to generate more e-waste than Europe by 2017
by Staff Writers
Nairobi (AFP) March 15, 2012

Better known as a dumping ground for used electronic goods from developed countries, Africa is set to outstrip Europe in the volumes of e-waste it generates within five years, experts said Thursday.

"One study suggests Africa will generate more e-waste than Europe by 2017," Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention on hazardous waste, told reporters.

"At the current rate ... by 2017 we'll be faced with so much e-waste -- even more than in the EU," said Miranda Amachree of Nigeria's National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency.

The two major contributing factors are population growth and increased avalibility of mobile phones, computers and accessories, the experts said on the sidelines of the Pan-African Forum on E-Waste at the UN environment agency in Nairobi.

"There is population growth ... and there is the penetration rate -- there are increasing numbers of people with access to these devices," Kummer Peiry said.

"You have to bear in mind that there are efforts undertaken at all levels to increase access -- it's part of development," she said, describing the growth of both the population and the penetration rate as "exponential."

Africa, which has traditionally been confronted by thousands of tonnes of electronic waste shipped from Europe for disposal, often under dangerous conditions, is increasingly dealing with the e-waste generated locally.

Kenya for example exonerated information and communication technology (ICT) equipment from import duties in 2008, in an attempt to boost access. Zambia followed suit last year.

"The use of electric and electronic devices ... is still low in Africa compared to other regions of the world but it is growing at a staggering pace," said a report launched last month summarizing findings from the E-waste Africa Programme of the Basel Convention.

The convention, which regulates the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, was adopted in 1989 and took effect three years later.

In Africa "in the last decade, the penetration rate of personal computers has increased by a factor of 10, while the number of mobile phone subscribers has increased by a factor of 100," the report said.

Africa, where most recycling is informal, "needs to move towards more formal recycling in order to ensure precious metals are properly extracted from say, mobile phones," Kummer Peiry said.

Achim Steiner, the head of the UN environment agency UNEP, that is hosting the three-day forum, said a seeming problem can be turned into an opportunity if the right recycling measures are put in place.

"From one tonne of cellphones, minus the batteries, you can extract 3.5 kilos of silver, 340 grammes of gold, 140 grammes of palladium and 130 kilos of copper," he told reporters, adding that the cost of smelting recycled metals is "three or four times less energy intensive than smelting virgin ores.

But that sort of recycling will only happen if Africa is given access to the necessary technologies, Steiner warned.

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Variety of toxicants can harm subsequent generations
Pullman, WA (SPX) Mar 15, 2012
A Washington State University researcher has demonstrated that a variety of environmental toxicants can have negative effects on not just an exposed animal but the next three generations of its offspring. The animal's DNA sequence remains unchanged, but the compounds change the way genes turn on and off - the epigenetic effect studied at length by WSU molecular biologist Michael Skinner an ... read more

Butterfly molecule may aid quest for nuclear clean-up technology

Japan's nuclear disaster: a timeline

Japan strives to win back tourists

Meltdown intel emerges ahead of Japan anniversary

Apple looks to tighten tablet market grip with new iPad

AU Optronics to appeal US price-fixing verdict

PayPal lets shops take payments on smartphones

Russia to build space warning system

China to invest in water projects

The Blue Planet's new water budget

Mauritius, Seychelles to jointly manage Indian Ocean shelf

Oceans Acidifying Faster today Than in Past 300 Million Years

China to conduct Arctic expedition

S. Korean, Russian scientists bid to clone mammoth

NASA Finds Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster

Greenland icesheet more vulnerable than thought to warming

Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies

Auchan supermarkets reports profit rise on action in China

Myanmar soldiers shot dead China farmer: Beijing

World breakthrough on salt-tolerant wheat

Tropical Storm Irina kills three in Mozambique:official

Greek volcanic island shows activity

Small tsunami hits Japan after 6.9 quake

Effects of flooding on Cairo

Algeria conflict shapes US military strategy

Ethiopia says it has attacked Eritrean military base

G.Bissau security forces vote in presidential poll

Bloodhounds deployed to fight elephant poaching in DR Congo

Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain

What have we got in common with a gorilla?

Knowledge gap widens gulf between South Asian nations

Human-like fossils in China caves puzzle scientists

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement