The Africa Institute-for the ‘environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes programme officer, Dr. Koebu Khalema said that addressing electronic waste, e-waste, problems in South Africa could be the next money minting industry for the country.
In the Doctor’s research paper labeled “e-Waste South Africa’s next gold rush?”, he said that the increased production and consumption of electronic equipment has led to a rapid growth in e-waste in the country.
Improper disposal of this waste produces could mean an increased health risk and toxic environmental pollution from lead, mercury and other toxic compounds found in most computers and monitors, he has written.
However, he has told ITWeb Africa that South Africa’s e-waste need not be a problem but that it instead presents business opportunities for industry players, especially manufacturers and distributors.
“The industry in South Africa is actually very keen to make sure that they can actually reclaim all the material because of its value,” Dr. Khalema has told ITWeb Africa.“There are other players who would like to set up recycling facilities right here in South Africa, all the role players believe this is the way to go,”
According to Dr. Khalema reclaiming means that e-waste products are reprocessed by industry players instead of ending up in municipal landfills.
More than 60% of electronics disposed of can be reused, refurbished and resold, said Dr. Khalema.
“We need facilities to actually process all these components and not only certain parts but the overall processing of the components – that’s what we hope it will actually come down to,” he explained.
He also said that such a process need not be specific to South Africa, as other countries in the southern African region could develop similar systems when dealing with e-waste.
Khalema said government and industry players plan to meet in November to discuss the business of reclaiming the country’s e-waste.