The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to undertake a national electronic waste (E-waste) inventory exercise in October, to assess the impact of e-waste in the country.
Scheduled to be a countrywide situation analysis on electronic waste, it is intended to help understand it by origin and type, trade routes and hubs, as well as a review of major toxic pollutants.
E-waste is one of the challenging bi-products of accelerated development and progress of digitisation as the market for electrical and electronic equipment grow steadily.
A number of reports on research indicate that in Ghana, the demand for computers and accessories, in particular, is phenomenal as a result of increasing electronic literacy.
Each year, large consignments of electronic and electric equipment, discarded mainly in Europe and North America, find their way into Ghana and are patronised by those who cannot afford to buy new gadgets and this has turned Ghana into a popular dumping ground for old electronics.
The e-waste challenge has grave adverse implications on health and the environment thus the inventory is intended to help assess the environmental, health, social, economic implications of e-waste on the economy while assessing the dimension of the sector, including the different value-chains and their employment level, among others.
In preparation for the exercise, the EPA has organised a two-day training workshop for enumerators in the Greater Accra Region.
The workshop was attended by staff from the EPA Head office, Accra West, Accra East and Kasoa offices.
The analysis would create a system that would serve as a platform to guide the government on initiatives related to the development of infrastructure for e-waste management, resource mobilisation, awareness creation, capacity building, education and research, and monitoring and evaluation.
It is under Africa Environmental Health and Pollution Management Programme (AEHPMP), which is aimed at reducing exposure to mercury and unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (uPOPs) in the country.
Therefore, as enumerators, the training developed their skills and knowledge of collecting data from the field for surveys, verification of the data, post implementation monitoring and post distribution.
The participants were also taken through the various electronic and electrical equipment waste categories, the sampling framework, content of the questionnaire and related procedures. They subsequently undertook mock interviews using the questionnaires which were then pretested in some parts of Accra.
The AEHPMP Project Coordinator, Larry Kotoe, said the inventory primarily sought to establish the actual volumes of e-waste in-country which would inform policy interventions, business promotion and appropriate treatment options within the value chain.
He added that the training was to build the capacity of the staff for the enumeration exercise and to facilitate future updates of the e-waste inventory.
Mr Kotoe mentioned that similar training workshops had been held for selected staff and potential field officers in other regions.
He urged the public to be cooperative and expect the officers in their houses, offices, and institutions to collect data on electrical and electronic equipment and their associated waste to help with the compilation of the inventory.
A representative of Mountain Research Institute, facilitators of the workshop, John Pwamang, urged the participants to take full advantage of the training and learn as much as possible to enhance their capacity for an effective exercise.