By Chief Spy Reporter
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is set to partner the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) to implement e-waste management centre.
The e-waste management centre initiative follows a study by the UCC on end of life (EoL) management of end-user communications/1CT equipment which the commission suggests a projection of an average 4500 tons of e-waste from end-user communications/1CT equipment for each year from 2018 to 2022.
The National Steering Committee on E-waste Management (NSCEW) in Uganda comprising of various stakeholders in the e-waste management value chain was established in 2016 with an objective to implement the e-waste policy and put in place a sustainable e-waste management system in Uganda. According to UCC, the NSCEW has representation at the Regional Steering Committee under the EACO and has contributed to the development of the Regional Strateg8Y on E-waste Management.
UCC says it is exciting to partner with NEC and NEMA in the implementation of e-waste management centre.
“It is exciting to be at this point of implementation of an e-waste management center in collaboration with the NEMA and NEC. The establishment of this facility provides Uganda with an opportunity for safe and sustainable management of EEE at their end of life. This is bringing our policy documents and frameworks to life. We intend to leverage on synergies to ensure the sustainability and scalability of the center. Uganda’s actions and interests in sustainable e-waste management speak to SDG2030 goals related to environmental protection and health, as well as employment and economic growth, i.e., Goal 3 (Good health and Well-being). Goal 6 (Clean water and Sanitation), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), Goal 14 (Life Below Water), and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth),” Eng. Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo Ag. Executive Director, UCC says.
She notes that as the Regulator of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the sector has a vision of “a digitally enabled economy’.
In this vision, she says, “we see a Uganda whose social economic growth is hinged on the uptake and meaningful usage of ICT and connectivity. In the last two and a half decades, there has been tremendous increase in importation and uptake of ICT based electrical and electronics equipment (EEE) in Uganda. This has mainly been due to the elimination of trade barriers in the importation of ICT equipment, liberalization of the telecommunications sector in 2006, and the development of e-initiatives to improve service delivery. The high turnover of ICT equipment and devices comes with the fast technology advancement, replacement rate and short life cycles leading to an enormous increase in generation of e-waste, which is now considered as one of the fastest growing solid waste in the world. A mobile phone may be used fora period of 5 months to 2 years, while a refrigerator or washing machine may be used from 5 – 10 years. Currently in Uganda, there are 29M mobile phone subscribers, over 32% internet subscriptions and an estimate of 24M devices in use. UCC, as a key stakeholder in the sustainable e-waste management value chain has collaborated with other stakeholders at the national UCC calls on all its stakeholders to take all necessary measures to plan for safe disposal of e-waste to mitigate the hazards which can arise from used ICT devices and equipment level (National Environment Management Authority NEMA, United Nations Bureau of Standards -UNBS, National IT Authority of Uganda-NITA-U, National Enterprises Corporation- NEC, Academia, Uganda
Revenue Authority -URA, Uganda National Bureau of Statistics – UBOS, Kampala Capital City Authority KCCA, Consumers, etc), regional evel (East African Community-EAC, East African Communications Organization-EACO, African Telecommunications Union-ATU) and international level (International Telecommunications Union-ITU, United Nations-UN), in contributing to initiatives and strategies geared towards sustainable e-waste management. In 2019 2020, UCC undertook a countrywide collaborative study on the end of life (EoL) management of ICT equipment to guide and inform its regulatory intervention in ensuring that ICT equipment are managed appropriately.”
According to Maj. Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi PSC NDC, General Manager, Luwero Industries Limited (LIL), the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) is proud to be part of the e-waste management centre.
“We implore all Ugandans to cooperate. Awareness is key in mitigating the health and environmental hazards caused by improper disposal of e-waste,” he said.
Dr. Tom Okurut says the e-waste management centre has been established to ensure safe and sustainable management of e-waste, and to mitigate the health and environment impact that would occur as a result of improper management of the waste at end of life and disposal. The facility shall thus cater for material recovery, reuse, refurbishment and recycling.
He says the National E-waste Management Centre shall be the main and pivotal e-waste management facility in the country managed by the NEC with oversight, regulation and coordination by NEMA. Initially, the facility shall collect, sort, dismantle and dispose e-waste and shall progress towards a refurbishment and recycling facility.
“The advantage with this set up (the management Centre) is that it will ride on the expertise of already existing waste treatment and disposal facilities located in Nakasongola managed by the same entity, which also has high regard to security for the waste received. This is demonstrated by the existence of the National Environment Act, 2019, the National Environment waste without intent of re-use. The improper disposal of e-waste has become a global environmental threat because some components of these equipment contain toxic waste management) Regulations 2020, the E-Waste Management Policy Management Strategic Plan, and the dangers caused by poor e-waste management demands for deliberate efforts from the general public, private sector and government to work together towards safe disposal of e-waste,” says Dr. Okurut.