16 Mar 2012:
Africa Could Produce
More E-Waste Than Europe by 2017
Africa, typically a dumping ground for electronic waste from other nations, could produce more e-waste than the European Union by 2017
, experts say. Across Africa, a combination of population growth and increased access to mobile phones and other technology will produce a surge in e-waste over the next five years, Miranda Amachree of Nigeria’s National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency told reporters at the Pan-African Forum on E-Waste, according to the Agence France-Presse. While the continent has long received thousands of tons of waste for disposal from developing nations, a recent report by the UN Basel Convention’s E-waste Africa Program found that as much as 85 percent of Africa’s e-waste is now local. That report
found that in five West African nations ten times more people have personal computers compared with a decade ago, and 100 times as many people have cellphones. In those countries alone, between 650,000 and 1 million tons of domestic e-waste are now generated per year. By comparison, the U.S. produces the most e-waste annually, with about 3 million tons, followed by China (2.3 million),
according to a 2010 UN report
. Katharina Kummer Peiry, of the Basel Convention, said African nations must “move towards more formal recycling in order to ensure precious metals are properly extracted from, say, mobile phones.”
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