As the world prepares to celebrate the International E-Waste Day on 14th October, Safaricom PLC has announced that it will work with partners and regulators to support the informal sector in e-waste management.
Through the program, the telco aims to create a sustainable business model that will create employment opportunities and link the sector to potential markets for their products. The program will also see the telco work with regulators to support the licensing of informal sector players to increase their capacity and foster transparency in their waste management operations.
“As part of our integrated waste management program, we have collected over 1,200 tonnes of e-waste working in partnership with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre in Nairobi, Ministry of Environment, the Communications Authority, and the National Environment Management Authority. We now want to encourage and promote wider participation from multiple stakeholders in the e-waste management process”, said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
As part of the program, 100 e-waste handlers and 15 electronic repairers will be trained on various best practices and eventually licensed by NEMA. The program will also aim to improve the health and safety practices among informal workers in the sector.
According to the Global E-Waste Monitor report 2020, a record of 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 percent in just five years. The report predicts global e-waste will reach 74 metric tonnes by 2030. This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few options for repair.
According to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) forum Only 17.4 percent of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled. This means that gold, silver, copper, platinum, and other high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US $57 billion — a sum, slightly more than half of Kenya’s GDP in 2019 – were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse.
The International E-Waste Day was developed by the WEEE Forum to help to promote global e-waste recycling. 112 organizations from 48 countries across the world got involved in the last year’s International E-Waste Day by arranging their own activities to unite in tackling the e-waste challenge.
Since 2018, Safaricom has partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, East Africa Communications Organization (EACO), and other stakeholders to commemorate International E-Waste Day with an aim of creating awareness on the importance of safe disposal, handling, and recycling of e-waste.