Rwanda has unveiled a campaign aimed at increasing awareness on e-waste management and ensure proper disposal of electronic waste, which the United Nations warns will be a global challenge in the coming years if not well handled.
The country’s Ministries of ICT and Innovation as well as Environment, and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), together with partners and affiliated agencies on Tuesday launched the campaign to raise awareness about proper e-waste management and encourage Rwandans to recycle their e-waste.
The campaign, which is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Telecommunication Union, will encourage the return of old and end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment, also known as e-waste, to dedicated collection points across the country.
Improper disposal of e-waste poses numerous threats to the environment, the economy, and people’s health. Over the past five years, the Government of Rwanda and partners have made significant progress towards proper e-waste management to promote green growth and a circular economy.
The new campaign will increase awareness about how and where to drop off old electrical and electronic equipment and the status of e-waste collection and management in Rwanda. The campaign aims to increase the collection rate of e-waste at dedicated collection points operated by Enviroserve Rwanda, an e-waste dismantling and recycling company that works in partnership with the Government of Rwanda.
According to the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, the drive will result in the protection of human health and the environment by minimizing the impact e-waste
“With the growing use of technology, electronic devices specifically, e-waste has become both a challenge and opportunity if well managed to reduce carbon emissions and hazardous effects on the environment. Statistics reveal that only 20% of global e-waste is formally recycled, which means the rest is disposed of inappropriately,”
“This campaign seeks to sensitise citizens about the various e-waste management strategies that can be deployed to minimise negative impact on the environment while creating economic opportunities. Rwanda seeks to create a sustainable industry that generates less waste and creates new decent jobs. We need to be mindful of the impact of e-waste on future generations while taking advantage of the opportunities brought about by the circular economy and digital transformation and transform this problem into an economic opportunity,” Minister Ingabire said.
Rwanda taking the lead
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne D’Arc Mujawamariya, pointed out that Rwanda as a country has a vision of taking the lead towards becoming a carbon neutral economy through different initiatives such as the one just launched on managing e-waste.
“Rwanda has a bold vision to become a carbon-neutral and climate resilient nation by 2050. To achieve this, environmental protection must be a priority. By properly disposing of e-waste, we’ll reduce the amount of e-waste that goes to landfill,”
“This will support the conservation of natural 1 resources, the creation of green jobs, and the reduction of risks from hazardous materials affecting the health of Rwandans and our environment,” Dr. Mujawamariya said.
Her message was reiterated by Eng. Deo Muvunyi, Acting Director General of RURA, who said that the country set forth to put in place the necessary regulatory frameworks to manage e-waste in a green and sustainable way.
“Rwanda has demonstrated a strong will to advance proper e-waste handling and create a regulatory framework that governs e-waste management and prevents hazardous chemical substances from polluting our environment and impacting people’s health,”
“We are delighted to launch this campaign together with our partners including UNEP and ITU and we are confident that it will be a success and bring about practical change in behaviour and understanding,” the RURA head said.
Through the campaign, the general public will be encouraged to drop off their e-waste and encourage their friends and family to do the same. The campaign will run until the end of June 2022 and will target residents of the City of Kigali and Musanze District (which hosts Rwanda’s first ever e-waste collection point).
The campaign comes as a reminder that everyone needs to take action to protect our planet and contribute to the country’s sustainable development and green growth. Other partners in the Rwanda e-waste campaign include the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), the Rwanda Green Fund, the Global Green Growth Institute, and Enviroserve Rwanda.