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Electronic waste risk assessment and management in Ghana

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The current management practice regarding e-waste is not the best. Mostly crude methods are used for e-waste dismantling and material recovery. Flow of E-waste into Ghana comes mostly from Europe and North America. Activities in the e-waste recycling chain include manual dismantling, open burning to recover metals and open dumping of residual fractions. Such practices release hazardous chemicals into the environment. Indeed comparing heavy metals concentration in urine of ewaste workers with those of the control group, it was observed that urinary Cu (mean 0.827 mg/L) and zinc (mean 0.63 mg/L) levels for Agbogbloshie e-waste workers were significantly high compared with those of the control. Considering the fact that e-waste trading and recycling activities provide participants with livelihood opportunities, and considering the risk posed to health and environment, we make the following recommendations: - Need to improve enforcement of related transboundary regulation in both countries of destination and countries of origin - Enactment of national e-waste legislation and improvement of enforcement of existing legislation - Strategies aimed at extending product life cycle of used computers such as formalizing repairs and refurbishment of UEEE through training and loan grants to small businesses involved in UEEE repairs - Restricting the age limit of UEEE imported into country to minimize near end of life computer imports - Sharing of information, experience and intelligence among relevant enforcement agencies in tackling issues of transboundary e-waste shipment. - Mainstream education on e-waste impact among scrap dealers with a view to establish a culture of risk reduction through the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Establish a national formal e-waste management system in place with sound environmental management framework since e-waste contains both beneficial and toxic substances. In summary therefore, consideration should be given to formalizing the current e-waste recycling regime in the country since it provides people with livelihood alternatives. Legislation regulating the import of UEEE and restriction of those near EOL, provision of personal protective equipment (PPE’s), regulation of the activities of scrap dealers and increased port security to reduce the import of none functional UEEE’s could help reduce the current menace e-waste inflicts on the Ghanaian society.


Nukpezah, Daniel; Okine, Henry Ayikai; Ofori, Benjamin; Ababio, Martin (2014): Electronic waste risk assessment and management in Ghana. Proceedings of the 28th Conference on Environmental Informatics - Informatics for Environmental Protection, Sustainable Development and Risk Management. Oldenburg: BIS-Verlag. Climate Change and Scarce Resources. Oldenburg. 2014