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E-Waste law: EPA to sanction non-compliant institutions

THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has threatened to sanction public and private institutions that fail to dispose their end-of-life electronic devices in line with the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917).

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The agency has, therefore, advised these institutions to drop off their end-of-life electronic devices at EPA designated collection centres or through permitted collectors.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a workshop on the responsible disposal of electronic waste, the Head of E-Waste Unit at the EPA, Larry Kotoe, said that was aimed at reducing the negative impact of e-waste on the public.

As Ghana experiences economic growth, it faces an increasing challenge with e-waste, fuelled by rapid technological advancements and a growing demand for electronic products.

Current disposal methods pose significant environmental and health hazards, including the pollution of soil and water resources and exposure to toxic substances.

Supported by the Africa Environmental Health and Pollution Management Programme and funded by the World Bank, the EPA launched a comprehensive e-waste management strategy and the National Integrated E-Waste Management Scheme (NIE).

This initiative, guided by the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917), mandates all e-waste generators, including households, institutions, importers, repairers and scavengers to responsibly dispose end-of-life electrical and electronic items at EPA designated collection centres or through permitted collectors within their communities.

The scheme outlines the processes involved in responsible collection, transport, storage, sorting, dismantling and recycling of e-waste and disposal.

Annual returns 

Mr Kotoe said under the law, e-waste generators were also required to file annual returns to the EPA on how they disposed their e-waste.

“We are mandated to conduct audits at these facilities so we can come and do independent verifications of how they have handled their e-waste.”

“The law also put some obligation on retailers to give enough information to consumers, especially households, on how to return the items when they become waste,” he stated.

On why the EPA has failed to enforce the law since it was passed in 2016, he said the agency wanted to secure sustainable financing for the management of the waste.

“So we introduced a fee that is being charged on all electronic items that are imported and these funds are lodged into the E-Waste Management Fund managed by a fund administrator.”

“So after completing that aspect we are now moving into how to mobilise the e-waste being generated in the public and private sectors,” he said.

Workshop 

Mr Kotoe said the workshop was to create the awareness within the public and private sectors that there is a law that requires them to dispose their e-waste responsibly.

“The specific focus for this target audience is to introduce them to the law and their responsibilities under the law.”

“We want to encourage them to send all their electronic waste that has been generated within their institutions to permitted e-waste centres so that we can send these items to proper recycling facilities,” he stated.

He said within the law, the EPA has identified various e-waste generators and households were one of them.

He said the EPA’s next engagement would therefore include individuals and households.

“Households are also expected to send their e-waste to the permitted centres and not mix them with their solid waste that would end up at a landfill site and end up polluting the environment,” he added.

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