New policy for electronic waste disposal in offing

The government will issue guidelines for disposing of electronic waste before the end of the month, the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, has said.
An assortment of old computers. The new policy will ensure their effective disposal.   The New Times/ Clement Uwiringiyimana
An assortment of old computers. The new policy will ensure their effective disposal. The New Times/ Clement Uwiringiyimana

The government will issue guidelines for disposing of electronic waste before the end of the month, the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, has said.

“We’re finalising a policy and a draft law on the electronic waste,” he said.

A clause in the policy says importers of electronic materials will be responsible for the waste as the product goes obsolete. The policy and draft law on the electronic waste will be submitted to Cabinet before the end of the month, according to Nsengimana.

Consultative meetings between the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, the Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority, the Rwanda Bureau of Standards and the Rwanda Housing Authority have been studying modalities on how to dispose of e-waste.

Although Nsengimana said the handling of electronic waste is a business opportunity, he said the policy to be approved will streamline modalities for getting rid of electronic waste.

When burnt in the open, computer wires emit hydrocarbon ashes released into air, water and soil; and this is hazardous.

Meanwhile, Great Lakes Electronics Management (Glem) ventured into management of electronic waste in October, last year, but to-date, its management says public institutions with electronic devices to be disposed of have refused to surrender them.

“We thought they would give us these waste for free but instead we’ve found most of the institutions reluctant to,” said Leonard Karera Ford, the Glem managing director.

Glem partners with a Belgium-based electronic recycler to recycle toxic materials in the e-waste.

Karera said they have written to almost all government institutions to get the old machines, but in vain. Glem  targets hospitals, schools and public offices for the e-waste.

Augustus Seminega, the director-general of Rwanda Procurement Authority, said a law on how public institutions dispose of properties is in place, but argued that is not respected.

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