… as phase one of innovative pilot programme progresses
To achieve economically and environmentally-effective e-waste management in the country, emphasis must be placed on livelihood sustenance, job creation and value addition across the entire value chain, Chief Director at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Cynthia A. Bediako has said.
“There exists a huge potential for the successful management of e-waste. In order to achieve this, we have to incentivise and regularise the operations of those in the informal and formal arms, whilst ensuring that there is no loss of livelihood. Rather, there are financial inducements and opportunities for more jobs, so that they do not run underground and end up posing further health risks to themselves and the general populace,” she explained.
Ms. Bediako made this known at an engagement with editors from various media outlets to provide an update on the progress of the first phase of the ‘Recycling and Disposal of Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment in an Environmentally Sound Way’ project, as well as entreat the media to be comprehensive in its reportage on the subject, noting that the media is a crucial stakeholder in the awareness creation process.
Taking her turn, Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry, Lydia Essuah, who doubles as the Project Coordinator, stated that the current project flows from a long line of productive partnership between the governments of Ghana and Germany.
She added that the current project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (KfW), is focused on developing a sustainable business model based on incentivising players in the formal and informal streams, and compliments an earlier initiative geared toward improving technical know-how organsied by GIZ.
Ms. Essuah stated that incentives offered to informal sector dealers, who are on the supply side is commensurate to prevailing market prices and the initiative opens opportunity for job-creation along the value chain, including areas such as transportation.
She revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is a strategic partner of the €20 million pilot programme, is currently undertaking an audit of potential recycling companies on the demand side.
“The recycling companies are assured of a constant supply as our formal players have shown, over time, their ability to efficiently gather e-waste. We will incentivise the recycling companies to take up batteries, thermoplastics and cathode ray tubes, which currently have no market value but are very destructive to the environment,” she explained.
Offering an update on the project, e-waste expert and consultant for the project, Dr. Vincent Nartey Kyere revealed that since the first of July this year, the programme has successfully collected 30 tonnes of cables – aluminum, high grade copper, alloyed copper and steel – at the Satellite Hand-Over Center (HOC) situated at Agbogbloshie.
He further disclosed that over the period of 88 trading days, there have been 979 individual transactions from 250 individual waste collectors, majority of whom are registered with the Greater Accra Scrap Dealers’ Association.
He added that the daily average stands at 0.36 tonnes of cables valued at GH¢4,117. “We have a price listing there as well as a scale, so that the dealers can see for themselves what the true value is, we believe this will build trust through transparency and minimise any opportunity to misconstrue our intentions,” he said.
To minimize incidents of theft, he noted, new cables are discouraged. But instances where verifiable receipts are presented for the new cables, they are accepted with payments made using digital channels, primarily mobile money wallets.
Mr. Kyere said that construction of the central HOC is scheduled to begin in Accra in the first quarter of 2021. “We have had most of fragments coming from in and around Agbogbloshe but we have also received some from Weija, the Eastern Region and from the North and we believe with more awareness creation, there will be a greater impact,” he said, echoing sentiments expressed by the Chief Director, Cynthia Bediako.