" ITREALMS: e-Waste worries United Nations

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

e-Waste worries United Nations

Worried by the spate of increase rate of electronic waste (e-waste) especially to developing countries, member governments of United Nations-sponsored global pact on the transport and disposal of hazardous waste have agreed to accelerate their efforts to reduce the impact and damage.

Participants a the just ended week-long conference in Nairobi on the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, delegates reportedly pledged to introduce pilot projects to take back used electronic products and to strengthen collaborative efforts to fight illegal traffickers.

The participants at the confab held with the support of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), under whose auspices the Basel Convention was adopted, said it expected a formal declaration to be issued committing governments to work towards improving their policies and prodding industry to pursue “green design.”

United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Communications department reports that the conference heard how a rising global tide of electronic waste, especially in developing countries, poses serious environmental risks because of the wide range of dangerous pollutants they can contain, from heavy metals to chlorine compounds.

UNEP also informed that about 50 million metric tones of electronic waste are currently being generated every year because of the growing demand for computers, televisions, radios, mobile phones among other consumer electronics.

It was further gathered that many of these products were discarded because they are deemed to be obsolete or defunct.

Addressing participants, Executive Director, UNEP, Mr. Achim Steiner said it is important that governments develop more effective regulatory regimes so that the market has incentives to respond more positively to the issue of electronic waste.

“By partnering with the private sector and with civil society, they can promote collection chains that channel obsolete goods back to their original manufacturers for recovery and recycling,” he declared.

Estimated 120 governments and members of UN took part in the eight Basel Convention held in Nairobi.

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