Safaricom embarks on 5-week e-waste collection project in Nairobi

A pile of old mobile phones: Through the E-Waste caravan, Safaricom will over a 5 week period collect electronic waste in more than 120 residential areas in Nairobi.
A pile of old mobile phones: Through the E-Waste caravan, Safaricom will over a 5 week period collect electronic waste in more than 120 residential areas in Nairobi.

As part of its e-waste management and sensitization programme,  Safaricom has launched a campaign to educate the public on the on the impact of wrongful disposal of electronic waste on the environment.

Through the E-Waste caravan, the firm will over a 5-week period collect electronic waste in more than 120 residential areas in the city.

Statistics indicate that over 17,350 tonnes of E-waste is generated in Kenya annually with mobile phones, personal computers and printers contributing to over 3,150 tonnes.

A campaign launched by Safaricom in October last year managed to mop up more than 10 tonnes. This new campaign is meant to boost this initiative as well as promote a culture of safe and responsible E-Waste disposal among Kenyans.

Speaking during the launch, Safaricom Director of Corporate Affairs, Nzioka Waita called for a multi-sectoral approach to the management of E-Waste.

“It is unfortunate that as we endeavor to become a more industrialised country and adopt ICT in all sectors of our economy, we are generating a lot more E-waste which in many ways erodes some of the benefits that we should be enjoying,” said Waita.

Kenya is presently in the process of drafting legislation which will guide the disposal of electronic waste which is currently directed by a set guidelines whose inability to impose punitive action makes them difficult to enforce. An improved economy and a growing middle class are expected to continue driving the increased uptake of electronics which will in turn result in an increase in E-Waste.

Waita noted that as the leading mobile company in the region, Safaricom felt compelled to take a leadership role in promoting the proper disposal of electronic waste since phones and their corresponding accessories form a significant part of this waste.

“Our E-waste programme involves collection and storage of old electronics (phones, lap tops and related accessories) through Safaricom retail shops and handing them over to a certified E-waste recycler. We urge all Kenyans to dispose of their E-waste in the right way through Safaricom shops”, he explained.

Waita added that Safaricom was committed to Public-Private Partnerships that will bring sustainable development in the country.

Speaking at the same event the Deputy Director in charge of Environmental Educations and Awareness at National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) Betty Nzioka commended the initiative saying that it is not only timely but also important.

Ms. Nzioka added, “We are now in the process of developing and implementing legislation on the disposal of electronic and electrical waste that will ensure that the environment is safeguarded and the rise in cancer and other non-communicable diseases is put in check”.

The e-waste will be disposed by the Waste Electricals and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE) within the provisions of the draft e-waste guidelines set by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

Safaricom launched the E-waste recycling programme in October 2012 to manage the impact of old/unused electronic gadgets from Cradle to Grave.

The programme involves collection and storage of old electronics (phones, lap tops and related accessories) through Safaricom retail shops and handing them over to a certified E-waste recycler.

The initiative co-ordinated by the Safaricom Corporate Responsibility Department encourages customers and other members of the public to drop off their old handsets, chargers and other E-waste for recycling at Safaricom retail shops. It has been endorsed by industry regulators namely Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).