Ahead of the International E-Waste Day on 14th October, Safaricom has announced that it will work with partners and regulators to support the informal sector in e-waste management. Through the programme, the telco aims at putting in place a sustainable business model which will create employment opportunities and link the sector to potential markets for their products. The programme will also see Safaricom work with regulators to support the licensing of informal sector players in order to increase their capacity and foster transparency in their waste management operations.
“As part of our integrated waste management programme, we have collected over one thousand two hundred tonnes of e-waste working in partnership with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre in Nairobi, Ministry of Environment, the Communications Authority of Kenya ( CA) and the National Environment Management Authority ( NEMA). We now want to encourage and promote wider participation from multiple stakeholders in the e-waste management process”, saidPeter Ndegwa, chief executive officer, Safaricom.
As part of the programme, one hundred e-waste handlers and fifteen electronic repairers will be trained on various best practices and eventually licensed by NEMA. The programme 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 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up twenty one per cent in just five years. The report predicts global e-waste will reach seventy four 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 per cent 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 in promoting global e-waste recycling. One hundred and twelve organisations from forty eight 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 the International E-Waste Day with an aim of creating awareness on the importance of safe disposal, handling and recycling of e-waste.