Rwandan Members of Parliament (MPs) are urging the government to take immediate action and develop an effective strategy for the removal of electronic waste, commonly known as E-waste, from residential homes.
Recognising the environmental and health hazards associated with improper e-waste disposal, the MPs have emphasised the urgency of addressing this issue for the well-being of the country and its citizens.
The parliament’s Committee on Economy and Trade presented a report on October 11 regarding e-waste management in the country and the challenges associated with the collection and recycling of such waste.
During a parliamentary session, MPs expressed concerns about the increasing accumulation of electronic waste in households across Rwanda. They highlighted the potential harm caused by the improper disposal of electronic devices such as old mobile phones, computers, televisions, and other electronic appliances. E-waste contains hazardous substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can contaminate soil, air, and water if not disposed of properly.
It has therefore urged the government to remove electronic waste (e-waste) from people’s homes to collection centres and, subsequently, to recycling facilities.
While compiling the report, the members of the committee interacted with various institutions, including the Auditor General’s office, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Enviroserve Rwanda Green Park, a private company working with the government in electronic and electrical waste recycling.
One of the primary issues identified by the MPs pertains to the focus of e-waste collection, which they say is not balanced as efforts predominantly go to government institutions and private sector organisations, yet these have less e-waste as compared to households.
The report noted that e-waste from public institutions and private sector organisations accounts for only 18 percent of all e-waste in the country, while that from citizens’ households accounts for up to 82 percent.
Furthermore, the committee discovered a lack of effective programmes for the declaration and collection of e-waste at various levels, especially in homes. In addition to this, the MPs noted that the current e-waste collection efforts concentrate on just four out of the approximately 13 types of e-waste.
The committee also pointed at the inadequate number of e-waste collection facilities, with a mere 14 districts out of 30 currently hosting such facilities.
By raising this issue in parliament, the MPs are actively advocating for the protection of the environment and the health of Rwandan citizens.
It is hoped that their call for action will prompt the government to prioritize the development of an effective e-waste removal strategy, ensuring a cleaner and safer environment for current and future generations in Rwanda.