E-waste consists of old radios, television sets, cellphones, fridges and electrical bulbs that emit radioactive material and hazardous substances like mercury, lead and a broad range of carcinogens. Children and adults, particularly in urban areas, are unknowingly exposed to the harmful waste when they rummage through rubbish at official and undesignated dumpsites.
As far back as November 2010, a research paper by the E-Knowledge for Women in Southern Africa (EKOWISA) painted a gloomy picture of the gathering e-waste danger in Zimbabwe. Japhet Moyo, the Chairperson of the Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest), told The Zimbabwean that there was no proper way of handling e-waste.
Moyo, who is also the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Secretary General, said residents had no choice but to lump all rubbish together at their homes or illegal dumpsites while municipalities also indiscriminately disposed of the waste.
“We are sitting on a time bomb and if proper research was done, it could be discovered that many people are dying because of this haphazard way of handling waste. The environment is also suffering,” he said.
Steady Kangata, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) education and publicity manager, said while his organisation had various policies to deal with hazardous waste the Environmental Management Act did not specifically address the issue of e-waste.
“The law is general on harmful waste, and this makes it difficult to address specific concerns regarding e-waste. Municipalities are supposed to properly handle waste and ensure that it is effectively separated, but they are not doing that,” said Kangata.Post published in: News