The construction of the US$30 million Agbogbloshie Electronic Waste project in the Greater Accra Region is expected to create over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country.
The project comes as a relief to traders and other residents of Agbogbloshie market, which has long been a dumping site for electronic waste, thereby, resulting in the release of hazardous substances such as mercury and lead; and persistent organic pollutants such as brominated flame-retardants.
The facility will be able to recycle all electronic and electrical waste, all used car tyres, all old refrigerators, air-conditions, microwaves, old computers, old televisions, among others.
The project is a joint collaboration between the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
At the sod-cutting for commencement of work, a speech read for President John Dramani Mahama, urged the Scrap Dealers Associations to take full advantage of the project, when completed, and to bring to an end, the bad practices of burning electrical and electronic wastes, and rather expand their collection ventures into big businesses.
The Project Consultant, Francis Gavor, noted that the project will save the country about US$300 million it spends annually on containing the health impacts of electronic waste disposal.
“From my economic point of view, we will be saving the country on the average about US$300 million by establishing this facility, which is now going to engage in a comprehensive value chain recycling for Ghanaians,” he said.
It is estimated that globally about 40-50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually, and developing countries including Ghana serve as the destination for most of these wastes from developed countries.
It is against this background that parliament, in August this year, passed the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act (Act 917).
The law deals with hazardous waste and seeks to domesticate the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of hazardous Waste and their disposal, prescribes the Electrical and Electronic Waste levy and establishes a Fund as well as an Electronic Waste Recycling Plant.
Money from the Fund shall be used to provide support for the construction and maintenance of electrical and electronic waste recycling or treatment plants, support research into methods of electrical and electronic waste preservation, prevention and control for research into electrical and electronic waste treatment and recycling.
It will also cover publication of reports, education of the public on the safe disposal of electrical and electronic waste and the negative effects of electronic waste.
Under the law, a person who contravenes sections of the Act commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine or to a term of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than ten years or both.
A manufacturer or importer of electronic equipment under the new law is required to register with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pay electronic waste levy in respect of electronic equipment that is imported into the country or manufactured in the country.
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