Private sector to handle recycling of counterfeit handsets

Organisations in the private sector have been mandated to oversee the recycling of disposed counterfeit handsets in the wake of Sunday’s switch off by network service providers and the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), with the Kenyan National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) playing an awareness-raising role.

The environmental threat posed by the amount of cell phones that will become e-waste from the termination is great, and NEMA has been working to raise public awareness of the importance of recycling

A spot check by HumanIPO confirmed that two bodies are currently licensed to handle e-waste in Kenya: Computers for Schools in Kenya (CfSK), located in Nairobi, and East Africa Computer Recyclers Ltd (EACR), in Mombasa.

“These companies collect and recycle electronic waste all over Kenya, from private and government offices to homes in line with eradicating the dangers posed by carelessly disposing of electronics,” said NEMA officer Dennis Cheruiyot.

Mobile giants Nokia and Samsung have also launched their own recycling schemes.

NEMA officer Dennis Cheruiyot said that awareness campaigns have been initiated in regard to the massive termination of fake handsets.

“Public awareness campaigns are underway through local media stations about e-waste management,” he said. “The organisation has in turn gone ahead to introduce collection kits of different colors to ensure segregation of different waste components.”

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) indicates that an estimated 150 tonnes of e-waste is annually generated from mobile phones alone.

Statistics from Kenya ICT Action Network indicate Kenya has surpassed a 63 per cent market penetration with the use of mobile devices, with NEMA stating that this figure indicates the massive pollution the disposed of counterfeits risk is causing.

CfSK relayed that they are aware of the predicament that could be caused by Sunday’s switch-off

The organisation’s Managing Director Dr Tom Musili said that they had begun the process of collecting and disposing of counterfeit phones in an environmentally friendly manner in line with the transitioned partnership with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE).

“We have representatives in these towns at designated collection points where collection bins are located. The items collected will then be shipped to our recycling facility in Embakasi, Nairobi,” he said

The WEEE Centre in Nairobi runs an operation that provides e-waste management services especially for decommissioned electrical and electronic equipment and the director said the centre has the capacity of handling up to 13 tonnes of e-waste per month, mobile phones included.

“We are committed to managing e-waste in a safe environment and able to competently handle the disposal of electronic waste for individuals, companies, organisations of all types, government departments and public institutions not only in Kenya but other countries in Africa,” Musili said.

The National Management and Environmental Authority (NEMA) is statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources in Kenya. They have policies and regulations on e-waste management, however it has been confirmed that these guidelines are however not enforceable.

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