Tanzania: Why Recycling E-Waste Is Important in Tanzania

Photo: New Times
An e-waste site.

Due to the rapid increase in the importation of electronic products and their widespread usage in homes and offices, it is clear that poor e-waste is becoming a ticking bomb in Tanzania. Recycling activities in the country are mainly on plastic and scrap metal.

A study of Tanzania's scrap recycling business by Van de Brink and Szrimai's showed that the country has a huge surplus of scrap and the players in the booming industry are not capable of utilising all available scrap.

Additionally, little has been done to support plastic recycling. This can be evidenced by the fact that few plastics producers are engaging in recycling activities. From Van de Brink and Szrimai's study, there are suggestions that support for recycling initiatives and recycling activities is urgently needed to extend recycling initiatives and activities to accommodate e-waste products in order to curb this alarming problem before is too late.

The government, through National Environment Management Council (Nemc), municipalities and city councils, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders has to take charge in launching recycling campaigns and initiatives.

Proper hard drives cleaning is essential for guaranteeing privacy and confidentiality of information stored in end of use electronic products. Deleting a file or formatting a hard drive does not sterilise completely computer hard drives. When a hard drive is formatted, information stored in is still alive and can easily be recovered using data recovery software.

There is a lot of software available that arese electronic products safely. Further, the main importers of electronic products should be involved in raising awareness to users of electronic products regarding safe disposal action plan on e- waste has not been implemented while things are getting out control.

Tanzania is one of the signatories of Basel Convection on the control of trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal which was ratified on 7 April, 1993.

Unfortunately, Tanzania has not dealt seriously with the problem of importation of sub-standard electronic products which are donated to majority of African countries as means of off-loading e-waste from developed countries.

It is now high time for the government to amend and enforce Environment Law to accommodate the Basel Convection. This will prevent Tanzania from becoming a dump site for end-of-use electronic products. Amendment of environmental law will make Tanzania part of world-wide team who prevents illegal e-waste trade and at the same time help hold responsible people importing sub-standard electronic products and disposing of them irresponsibly.

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