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Surrender Obsolete Computers for E-Waste Management PDF Print E-mail

By Joel Kamba

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Obsolete computers collected from schools by CfSU
The use of electronics the world over has been growing tremendously most especially growth in Information Communication Technology (ICT). A new, fast computer is great – but what happens to the old one? It becomes electronic waste (e-waste), which is a major problem for all countries now.

Computers for Schools Uganda (CfSU) is a non governmental organisation involved in distributing computers to educational institutions particularly western Uganda, West Nile, the central region and is steadily expanding to other regions. For two years now, CfSU has distributed about 1500 computers to 54 schools.


Each school is equipped with at least 10 computers or more with specifications; 1.5ghz processor speed, 40GB hard drive, 512mb RAM, TFT monitors, at a subsidized cost mainly for CfSU to take care of maintenance of the equipment for a period of two years and to develop the technical capacity of the lab attendants in the schools.
   
CfSU is also handling e-waste activities, withdrawing from schools computers that are considered obsolete through ‘take back’ programmes. This has been achieved through raising awareness among communities and creating incentives like giving a free computer for 10 obsolete cones.

Based on experience from its sister organization Computers for Schools Kenya, the Uganda chapter is piloting the E-waste management project but lacks proper disposal facilities.


It has thus partnered with international organizations such as IICD and Close the Gap International for the provision of funds and technical aspects.
CfSU in Uganda and Kenya have a target to collect at least 1000 pieces of obsolete computers within a period of four months, professionally dismantle them to separate metal, plastic, motherboards and monitors.


Plastic and metal components will be handled in Uganda by disposing them to local metal recyclers while complex components like motherboards and monitors are forwarded to CfSU who have partners with better facilities to properly dispose of the equipment.


Some of the potential e-waste holders are basically training institutions, organisations and schools. CfSU collects the obsolete computers after creating awareness or sometimes letters are sent to various institutions communicating the dangers of e-waste and requesting them to surrender the computers.


CfSU picks up the e-waste from the institutions within reach and arranges a mode of collection for the ones from distant areas depending on the amount of e-waste to be collected.


Although the response has been good, for regions like Mbarara and a few individuals as well as National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), CSfU officials say the Ugandan population still attaches value to the computers.


“People here still attach value to obsolete computer equipment to the extent that one can even hire a warehouse to accommodate this hazardous waste hoping to get proceeds from it,” said an official from CSfU.


CSfU attributes the rampant practice to lack of awareness. So far the organization has collected 230 obsolete computers.
 

E-waste sensitization workshop at Sports view Hotel on 17th February 2010.
E-waste sensitization workshop at Sports view Hotel on 17th February 2010
In a recent e-waste sensitization workshop by CfSU in Kampala, it was discovered that National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) needs to work with concerned ministries and private initiatives to come up with an institutional policy on e-waste, improve the level of awareness through training and also establish e-waste collection centres. 


NEMA officials said an institutional policy on e-waste management and practices for handling e-waste is being developed and training to raise awareness is on going.


CfSU urges all those with e-waste to surrender it for proper disposal. 

Send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you need more information on e-waste or want to know how to dispose of your old electronics.
 

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