THE government is in the process of reviewing the National Information, Communications and Technology policy of 2003 to allow recycling of e-waste products in a bid to reduce pollution.
The Deputy Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Mr January Makamba, told the National Assembly that the move would also go hand in hand with measures to prevent increase in e-waste by encouraging modern technologies. He also said that the government will as a result be able to benefit economically by selling products emanating from the recycling.
He was responding to a question by Ms Waride Bakari Jabu (Kiembesamaki-CCM). She wanted to know measures being taken by the government to save its people from health risks posed by the increase in e-waste.
She also wanted to know government plans to safely destroy used electronic equipment to safeguard environment from increasing pollution.
Mr Makamba said that the process which started in May, this year, will also help generate new jobs and thus increase income among entrepreneurs in the country. "I would like to take this opportunity to call upon members of parliament to contribute effectively to the formation of the policy and to collaborate during its implementation," he said.
He admitted that the current situation where such wastes are haphazardly thrown was posing a health challenge as there are dangerous contents in those wastes. "These wastes are harmful given the fact that electronic equipments have chemicals such as lead, zinc and mercury among others of which are poisonous and dangerous for environment and people," he said.
Mr Makamba added that other countries have put in place a recycling system and the problem has been solved. He commended efforts being made through the National Environment Policy of 1997 and the Environment Management Act Number 20 of 2004, together with its regulations on solid waste - the environmental (Solid Waste Management) Regulations, 2009 under the National Environment Management Council-NEMC.
"The government will continue to use the Environment Management Act Number 20 of 2004 as well as various national and international directives on the destruction of ewaste," he said. He also called upon district councils where members of the parliament are members to put in place strategies that help in ensuring proper ways of destroying such wastes.
"It is my hope that when the policy that we are working on is ready, the ICT sector will help in contributing to the efforts being made by the environmental sector in the management of e-waste," he said.