Rwanda has built a dismantling and recycling facility to transform e-waste into valuable materials, create green job opportunities and reduce the effect of environmental hazards
Rwanda has built a dismantling and recycling facility to transform e-waste into valuable materials, create green job opportunities and reduce the effect of environmental hazards.
The Rwanda Green Fund financed the facility’s US$1.5 million construction, which is located in the Eastern Province’s Bugesera District.
More than 15 types of electrical and electronic equipment are being recycled, including mobile phones, computers, printers, refrigerators, televisions, car batteries and washing machines.
The facility has collected 120 tonnes of e-waste in its first six months of operation, dismantling 60 tonnes and mitigating the equivalent of 279 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
It is intended as a solution to environmental challenges caused by e-waste, as hazardous components from electronics can pollute soil and water.
Minister for Trade and Industry, Vincent Munyeshyaka, said the facility would have a positive economic impact, supporting local industries by providing raw materials such as plastic, steel and copper, as well as environmental
According to the Minister, between 2001 and 2015 there was a tenfold increase in electronic, electrical and ICT equipment, and mobile phone subscriptions rose from 1.6 million in 2001 to 8.5 million by June, 2017.
An inventory survey by the Ministry of Trade and Industry revealed that there was an annual generation of e-waste in Rwanda of between 10,000 and 15,000 tonnes, at a growth of 5.95%.
This contributes to the 700 tonnes of methane gas emitted from landfills, the largest source of emissions from the waste sector according to a 2010 United Nations Environmental Programme report, `Waste and Climate Change: Global Trends and Strategy Framework’.
The Ministry of Environment warned that e-waste poses a serious threat not just to the environment, but the health and wellbeing of people living locally.
Remy Duhuze, the Director of environment regulations and pollution control unit at Rwanda Environment Authority (REMA), said there were difficulties in the past in finding disposal solutions for obsolete electronics.
He said an Environmental Impact Assessment had been conducted to ensure the facility complies with environmental and health standards.
Some concerns remain, however, over the use of water for hygiene purposes and the fate of small components that have no monetary value and can cause pollution.
Rwanda’s Minister for Environment Vincent Biruta said: “With Rwanda's goal to be a developed, climate resilient and low carbon economy by 2050, this facility… is testament to the clear vision that Rwanda has for clean and green growth.”
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