Environmental
Governance

  [You are here: News > Press Release ]

Press Release

UNEP backs action on e-waste in East Africa
07/ 09/ 2010

UNEP backs action on e-waste in East AfricaKenya is set to become the first East African nation to develop regulations on the management of electronic waste (e-waste), following a national conference held at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi.

Nairobi, 7 September 2010 - Kenya is set to become the first East African nation to develop regulations on the management of electronic waste (e-waste), following a national conference held at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi. The aim is to minimize the impacts of the unsafe disposal of electronic products on public health and the environment.

Delegates from Kenya's Environment Ministry, the country's National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), software giant Microsoft, UNEP and the telecommunications industry came together , Tuesday, to chart a common way forward in dealing with e-waste management in line with the Basel Convention and other international frameworks.

The need to identify and map the environmental impact of e-waste on Kenya was identified as a national priority. Experts also discussed the capacity constraints hindering the disposal of e-waste as well as the collection system and recycling infrastructure.

E-waste consists of old electronic items such as computers, printers, mobile phones, refrigerators and televisions. Increasing demand for electronic goods in Kenya and in the developing world means that levels of e-waste are growing fast. As a result, the hazardous substances such as heavy metals contained in most of these discarded products are posing a serious risk to the environment and to human health.

But e-waste also presents an economic opportunity through the recycling and refurbishing of discarded electronic goods and the harvesting of the precious metals they contain.

A recent baseline study conducted by the Kenyan Information Communications and Technology Network, showed that Kenya generates 3,000 tons of electronic waste per year. The study predicts that the quantity is expected to rise as demand for electronic goods increases.

Internationally, China, India and Pakistan receive much of the world's e-waste. Worldwide, e-waste generation is growing by about 40 million tons a year.

Speaking at the workshop, UNEP Deputy Executive Director Angela Cropper spoke of the emerging global threats and opportunities provided by tackling the growing e-waste challenge. Acknowledging technology's potential for assisting with infrastructure and overcoming knowledge barriers, she noted innovation and technology can also play a role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, green growth and assisting with climate change challenges.

However, given the increased pace of technological development and obsolescence, many appliances have a short life-expectancy and require sound re-use, recycling and disposal solutions. Dumping or improper recycling of electronic waste causes serious environmental contamination, and while electronic goods are mostly used in the developed world, many end up in developing countries.

"Raising recycling rates and re-using valuable metals and components, as well as increasing safe waste management and its regulation, is critical if countries and businesses are to transform mountains of e-waste into an asset", said Ms. Cropper.

Microsoft's Regional Education Manager for East and Southern Africa, Mr. Mark Matunga, called for concerted efforts in e-waste management, which has proved to be a challenge to many African countries.

"Kenya, like most Africa countries has no polices and strategies for dealing with e-waste and therefore its population is greatly exposed to health hazards that are associated with e-waste", said Mr. Matunga.

At present, Kenya has no specific laws relating directly to e-waste. The government-backed recommendations produced at the Nairobi meeting could pave the way towards the first legislation in East Africa on e-waste management.

Notes to Editors

UNEP has been conducting extensive research on e-waste and launched a landmark report, 'Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources', in February 2010. The report examined e-waste in 11 developing countries, including Kenya.

UNEP hosts the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. Under the Convention, inventories and national management plans are being developed in Africa to improve the collection, repair, refurbishment and recovery of e-waste.

Further Resources
UNEP's 'Recycling - from E-waste to Resources' report
Remarks by UNEP Deputy Executive Director at Nairobi e-waste conference
UN Radio report on Nairobi e-waste conference
E-Waste Workshop Recommendations

Text/HTML

Minimize

University of Finland and UNEP - 12th Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements
2-12 November 2015, Shanghai, China

The Special theme of the Twelfth Course is Climate Change.


2nd UNEP-INTERPOL Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee Conference
16-17 November 2015, INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation, Singapore

At the 2nd ECEC in Singapore, INTERPOL and UNEP brought together Chief Executives from Environmental Security and Enforcement agencies from INTERPOL member countries, as well as Chief Executive Officers from international and non-governmental organizations, to design and debate strategies to tackle environmental crime and achieve sustainable development goals.


Annual Meeting UNEP- EUROCLIMA (EC Programme to support Policy Dialogue on Climate Change issues in Latin American countries)

Special session of the Commission on Environment of the PARLATINO(Latin American Parliament) on Climate Change law.

27-28 October 2015, Panama


Global Training Programme on Environmental Law and Policy for Mid-career Government Officials

05-13 October 2015, Nairobi, Kenya


Meeting of the Senior Government Officials Expert in Environmental Law on Mid-term review of the Montevideo Programme IV

7-11 September 2015, Montevideo, Uruguay


Montevideo Programme Environmental Law Seminar: Laws to Promote environmental sustainability of oceans and seas
9-10 July, Panama City, Panama


Montevideo Programme Environmental Law Seminar: Legal Foundation for Environmental Sustainability

13-14 July 2015, United Nations Headquarters, New York


Meeting of Eminent Legal Experts on the Midterm review of the Montevideo Programme IV

15-16 July 2015, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Regional Training on Negotiations for Multilateral Environmental Agreements Focusing on UNFCCC and CBD as they relate to Regional Seas Convention
11-13 May 2015, Jeddah Kingdom, Saudi Arabia


Meeting of Climate Change Negotiators of Latin America and the Caribbean
14-15 May 2015, Santiago de Chile 

Regional Meeting of negotiators in preparation for Climate Change multilateral negotiators (exchange of views and discussion of key topics for the region towards COP21)


International Day for Biological Diversity 2015
22 May 2015

Biodiversity for Sustainable Development

This year’s theme reflects the importance of efforts made at all levels to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda for the period of 2015-2030 and the relevance of biodiversity for the achievement of sustainable development.


Launch of The UNEP Sourcebook 

officially launched at a side event in the margins of Ramsar COP 12 - 8 June 2015, Punta del Este, Uruguay

The aim of the Sourcebook is to provide National Focal Points of the major Biodiversity-related Conventions as well as other stakeholders working on these conventions, with options to achieve enhanced implementation of the conventions through enhanced cooperation.


Preparatory Workshops for Paris UNFCCC COP for 2015 for Least Developed countries

June 2015, Bonn, Germany


Second Congress on Environmental Policy, Law and Justice Seminar on Environmental Crimes

6-10 July 2015, La Habana, Cuba


Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law(OAS website)
30-31 March 2015, Montego Bay, Jamaica 

The Organization of American States (OAS) co-organized the First Inter-American Congress on the Environmental Rule of Law in Montego Bay, Jamaica, an event that concluded with a call to strengthen the rule of law on to address environmental challenges in the Americas.


Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development

4 May 2015, UN Headquarters, New York, Conference Room 11