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. While the continent has long received thousands of tons of waste for disposal from developing nations, a recent report by the UN Basel Convention found as much as 85 percent of Africa’s e-waste is now local. That report found that in five West African nations ten times as many people have personal computers as a decade ago, and 100 times as many people have cellphones. In those countries alone, as much as 1 million tons of domestic e-waste is now generated per year. 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.”