The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the German government jointly inaugurated the first phase of an electronic waste (e-waste) management project at Old Fadama, popularly known as Agbogbloshie, in Accra on Wednesday.
The project comprises a health post, a football pitch and a training workshop to provide capacity in the collection, dismantling and disposal of E-waste.
The German government, through its Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), financed the project at a cost of €25 million.
The project is expected to strengthen the capacity of scrap dealers to ply their trade in an environmentally safe manner to reduce risks to human health and also provide them with healthcare services, among other forms of support.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said the entire project formed part of the government’s long-term measures to address the improper disposal of electronic waste and its accompanying health and environmental challenges.
He explained that the comprehensive project would include a recycling plant for converting electrical and electronic waste materials into final products in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.
“It will help protect the people of Accra and its environs, specifically the Agbogbloshie community, against toxic pollutants generated from the burning of e-waste,” he added.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the project had become necessary because statistics from the ministry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that 500 containers of electronics were imported into the country every month.
He said out of that number, 15 per cent arrived as e-waste, while the rest gradually added up to the country’s e-waste burden after their useful circle.
In all, about 40 to 50 million tonnes of e-waste arrived in the country annually, he said.
“Currently, the dominant way e-waste is disposed of in the country is through burning. The Agbogbloshie e-waste burning site has been described as one of Africa’s biggest e-waste dump sites in recent times. It has also been cited among the top 10 most polluted sites in the world,” the minister added.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the government, therefore, initiated the project to ensure that the e-waste business at Old Fadama was carried out in an environmentally healthy way, with human health at the centre of the activities.
He said another intervention needed was to enforce policies and laws to minimise or stop the importation of such e-waste products.
The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, said the project was expected to provide a model for an integrated e-waste management programme in Ghana.
He commended the government, the beneficiaries and all stakeholders for their cooperation.
The Head of the Agbogbloshie e-waste Recycling Project at the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Mr Markus Spitzbart, appealed to scrap dealers to make the most of the facility in accordance with EPA regulations.
The project forms part of a comprehensive e-waste management project known as the Environmentally Sound Disposal and Recycling of e-waste (e-waste Programme), abridged to “the Agbogbloshie e-waste Recycling Facility”.
The entire project is under a Technical and Economic Cooperation Agreement between Ghana and Germany.
The overall objective of the comprehensive project is to improve conditions for the sustainable management and disposal of electronic waste in the country.