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Development of Kenyan E-Waste Management Guidelines

GESCI collaborated with the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources and task force members drawn from government agencies, NGOs and other private entities to develop a set of e-waste guidelines to be used as a reference for the responsible identification, collection, sorting, recycling and disposing of electrical and electronic waste. Technical solutions for e-waste processing are available, but in most cases a legal framework, a collection system, logistics, and other services need to be implemented before a technical solution can be applied.

An estimated 50 million tonnes of e-waste is produced each year . The USA discards 30 million computers each year and 100 million phones are disposed of in Europe each year. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled in US, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators. Kenya was acting as one of the dumping grounds for these used electrical and electronic appliances. In 2010, UNEP estimated the e-waste generated in Kenya at 11,400 tonnes from refrigerators, 2,800 tonnes from TVs, 2,500 tonnes from personal computers, 500 tonnes from printers and 150 tonnes from mobile phones.

This high rate of accumulation of e-waste stems not only from the rapid pace of emerging technologies but also from e-waste disposal by developed countries in the form of used electronic equipment with short life-spans. This pollution is damaging human health, putting increasing pressure on natural resources and is contributing to global warming. The Bamako Convention to which Kenya is a signatory, is a treaty of African nations prohibiting the import of any hazardous (including radioactive) waste.

Although there were existing environmental laws on waste management in Kenya, there were no specific environmental policies, regulations or guidelines directly targeting e-waste management in the country. The purpose of the guidelines is to assist the government, private sector, learning institutions and other stakeholders to manage electrical and electronic waste effectively to enhance environmental conservation. The development of the guidelines was one of the activities in the e-learning strategy for the environment sector. The e-learning strategy was developed in 2009 and adopted in April 2010. 

Related Files

Guidelines for E-Waste Management in Kenya

3 MB

Electronic waste or e-waste is growing exponentially. In Kenya, the telecommunications industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors. Increasing demand for electronic goods means more e-waste. These guidelines aim to bridge the legislative gap where e-waste has not been sufficiently addressed in law.

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