UN joins Africa in fight against e-waste

The United Nations and 18 African countries are joining forces in an effort to reduce the effects of electronic waste across the continent. It comes as reports continue to surface of e-waste piling up across the continent.

Toxic tech waste poisoning Africa (image credit: Buus/Greenpeace)

The initial steps towards reducing e-waste were made at last week’s Pan-African Forum on e-waste in Nairobi, Kenya where government officials and NGOs discussed reducing the impact of e-waste in Africa.

Experts at the forum said Africa was likely to generate more e-waste than Europe by 2017, due to increased consumption and importation of electronics.

On Wednesday night, the UN announced the partnership plan aimed at dramatically reducing e-waste in 18 African countries in an effort to shore up environmental protection as the ICT sector continues to boom.

With the new agreement, there will be “the establishment of an EU-Africa enforcement network that will be responsible for tackling e-waste dumping in Africa”.

According to a UN report, 85% of waste produced in West Africa alone “comes from domestic consumption.

“But the problem is further exacerbated by industrialised nations exporting used electronic equipment that often proves to be unusable and ends up being discarded.”

This new program, to be finalised and detailed with goals and milestones, is to push forward on what many African countries have been calling for in recent years. The Kenya government has especially pushed for new measures to curtail the amount of waste the ICT industry produces.

Joseph Mayton