Posts Tagged ‘dumpsite’

Kenya’s E-Waste Disaster

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Environmentalists warn that unregulated disposal of e-waste with toxic elements that can persist for hundreds of years can be particularly alarming given the expected rise in volumes in the next decade.

E-waste is made up of televisions, computer monitors, VCRs, stereos, copiers fax machines and smaller electrons like the ones that RFC recycles, such as cell phones, PDAs, iPods and digital cameras. This e-waste has become one of the fastest growing segments of Kenya’s total refuse, according to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

The concern is that Kenya is being exposed to this type of pollution because of a failure to manage this waste. Kenya will experience long-term and costly environmental damage whose impact is believed to be felt in the emergence of new diseases, change in weather patterns and food insecurity. Something this devastating will take many decades to reverse.

Kenya’s less formal dumping sites are homes to electronic gadgets with some of the most lethal toxins. Chemicals such as mercury, cadmium and lead are some of the few to contaminate ground water, strip the earth of its nutrients and has damage human tissues and organs.

In Nairobi, the impact of this carefree disposal of e-waste is already beginning to be felt in Dandora estate where contact with dump-site material has seen a steep rise in the number of children diagnosed with lead poisoning. Dandora is the location of Nairobi’s largest dump-site that takes most of the 4,000 tons of garbage that the city residents generate daily. There is a significant connection between the two.

Without regulated or proper means of disposal, most Kenyans have resorted to burning trash as their optimal method of disposing their e-waste. Acts like this increase their danger to the environment. By incinerating these gadgets it is releasing these toxic chemicals and metals into the air and ground. The method does not completely decompose the metals.

This is an issue that is not going away. In fact, it is increasing. It’s one thing to be aware of the problem, but another to be a part of the solution. It’s time we all make a change.

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