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18.11.2008 General News

Computer Junk Floods Market

By Daily Guide
Computer Junk Floods Market

Dumping of e-waste into the African markets, especially Ghana, continues to be on the increase despite efforts by the regulatory authorities to stem the ugly trend.

With the dreadful trend causing more harm than good as a result of environmental pollution and its attendant health implication, Information Technology (IT) experts see Africa, with Ghana and Nigeria in the fore, as the final destination for e-waste.

This trend, which has remained unabated, continues to be a challenge to the regulatory agencies of these two nations which appear to be helpless with regard to regulating the daily influx of these obsolete e-gadgets that have short life span.

Even though the Basel Convention prohibits international waste transfer, hundreds of containers stuffed with over used PCs and their accessories, according to recent checks, have been shipped to African countries, especially Ghana and Nigeria because of its high demand in these two nations.

A reliable source told this paper that millions of computers enter the Ghanaian ports every month. These PCs, this paper learnt, are fraudulently shipped most of the time, as re-use or refurbished, thereby making the IT market look so untidy.

CITY&BUSINESS GUIDE 's findings show that efforts by the Ghana Government to control the influx of thousands of used or refurbished PCs, cellular handsets and other e-gadgets have not yielded the expected results as these products continue to flood the markets by the day.

Even though e-waste is a global issue, especially in most African countries where there is no effective e-waste management system, the fact remains that Ghana is a dumping ground for all kinds of computer scraps that come into the country from the developed economies, especially European and Asian markets.

Some of these products, according to the findings, are being brought into the country by racketeers and non governmental organizations (NGOs) as a donation which in the long run, cannot stand the test of time.

PCs, according to experts, are just like other e- products and have components that contain highly toxic substances, gases and heavy metals which can be harmful to human health and the environment.

The trash from old computers, mobile phones or refrigerators, according to experts, contains dangerous substances, such as lead, mercury and cadmium among others.

According to experts, when piles of unwanted electronic materials are not improperly disposed of, it can leach toxins into the soil, air and groundwater which later enter into crops, animals and human body systems to cause contamination and pollution.

Medical experts have warned that exposure to these substances can cause damage to blood and nervous systems, DNA, immune systems, and kidneys.

By Felix Dela Klutse