According to the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, Africa generated nearly 2.9 million tons of waste electrical and electronic equipment (D3E) in 2019, including 10,000 tons produced by Rwanda each year. Based on this observation, the Rwandan government in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) are launching an awareness campaign on the management of electronic waste.
The operation which aims to stimulate the collection and recycling of old electrical and electronic equipment (computers, televisions, smartphones, tablets, etc.) will target the 1.2 million inhabitants of the city of Kigali until the end of June 2022 The initiative is also supported by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema), Rwanda Information Society Authority (Risa), Rwanda Green Fund (Fonerwa) and l Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
If for the Rwandan government this campaign rhymes with its expected carbon neutrality strategy by 2050, the Public Services Regulatory Authority (Rura) has listed 650 types of electronic devices including solar products and air conditioners. So much equipment containing dangerous chemicals like lead which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), pollutes soil, groundwater and surface water. In addition, these particles have toxic effects on the immune system and the human reproductive system. This is why Rwanda has improved the sustainable management of e-waste in recent years.
In 2021, the Rwandan authorities provided each district of the country with an electronic waste collection point thanks to the support of the Rwandan subsidiary of the Emirati company Enviroserve. The first electronic waste collection unit was set up in the northern district of Musanze located 120 km from Kigali.
Earlier in 2020, the Rwandan Ministry of ICT and Innovation in partnership with Smart Africa Secretariat, an African Union (AU) organization, installed a smart waste management system in Kigali. These are smart bins with a real-time monitoring system, which uses sensor technologies to alert collectors to their fill levels. The system also works with closed circuit cameras and a geographic information system (GIS) for waste collection facility security.
And that’s not all ! From 1er July 2022, regulations prohibiting the import of e-waste, in particular cathode ray tubes (CRT), will come into force within the East African Community (EAC) of which Rwanda is a member, as well as the Kenya and Tanzania. The text also stipulates that sellers of electronic gadgets operating in the region are responsible for the treatment of waste generated by their products.
Benoit Ivan Wansi
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RWANDA: Kigali raises awareness of sustainable management of electronic waste | Africa 21
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