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Environmental impacts of E-Waste recycling in Africa

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100301.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100301)
Authors:   Omar Hijazi, Aikins Okyere, Heinz Bernhardt
Keywords:   E-waste, environment, international frameworks, management, policy


Globally, African countries are positioned at the receiving ends of mass disposals of out-of-use electronic and electrical gadgets in illegal yet lucrative international trade flows, as well as internal e-waste generations. This has subjected the countries in Africa to the menace associated with handling and management of e-waste, chiefly among them being the attendant health and environmental effects. The study made a comparative assessment of e-waste management activities in four selected African countries to draw a synergistic connection between e-waste and carbon emissions and the impact of this connection on the environment. This study further looked at the responses of the selected countries to international frameworks – Basel Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. It came out that, incineration and landfill disposals of e-waste are the two main avenues where e-waste management where emissions of greenhouse gases and release of hazardous chemicals are prevalent. The study also showed that informal waste management is prevalent with little or no homegrown policy regulation targeting their activities. The international frameworks have done little to safeguard the African countries as despite the ban on e-waste trade, deposits in countries still persist. The study proposed an effective e-waste management scheme of combining recycling and extended producer responsibility (EPR) initiatives, a country specific policy implementing homegrown measures while considering the international frameworks were also recommended.

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