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ENVIRONMENT : Gov’t to ban used electronics
Government is in the final stages of enacting a law that will control the importation of used electronic gadgets into the country in an effort to stem the menace of e-waste that has engulfed the country recently, the Environment Minister has said.
Official data released by the Ghana Shippers Authority indicates that the country imported 31,400 metric tonnes of used electrical appliances last year, 75 percent more than what was imported into the country in 2009.
According to the data, the United Kingdom is by far the largest exporter of used electronics to Ghana accounting for more than half the quantum of imports to Ghana last year.
The Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Sherry Ayittey, said the ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Communication and the Attorney General’s Department to finalise the draft legislation on how the country will halt the dumping of electronics into the country at a time of increasing concerns over the effects of climate change on the survival of nations.
“Those of us in Ghana are witnesses to the rising sea levels that threaten to displace rural dwellers along our coasts from Aflao to Axim .... We know electronic waste contributes to climate change and we will soon put before cabinet a draft bill that will control the importation of used electronics into Ghana,” she said.
The announcement of the imminent ban of used electronics coincided with Ghana’s hosting of the 6th ITU Symposium on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change in Accra last week.
The Minister of Communication, Haruna Iddrisu, who has given full support to the law to ban used electronic imports wants other Africa countries to emulate Ghana’s step and fight e-waste.
“Africa has become a dumping ground for used electronics. It is about time we sent a strong message to the rest of the world that Africa cannot continue to be used for the dumping of used and redundant technologies.
“I am happy the Ministry of Environment, the Communication Ministry and Attorney General’s Department are finalising a draft bill on the regulation of electronic waste in Ghana,” he said.
The government’s move to control the large volumes of used electronic imports is seen by many as a statement to the western world that Ghana will not continue to be a dumping ground for redundant technologies.
It is feared that as the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) deadline of June 2015 approaches for all countries to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting, developing countries such as Ghana could be the biggest hit by e-waste resulting from the dumping of used electronics and television sets.
AYB /The B&FT
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