Kenya generates over 17,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year

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Scavenger birds pick a dump site in Dhaka. UN Photo/Kibae Park

Over 17,000 tonnes of electronic waste or the equivalent of 130 million mobile phones is generated in Kenya annually, according to estimates by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

A National e-Waste Conference and Exhibition was held in Nairobi on Wednesday, to identify solutions to Kenya’s mounting e-waste problem.

E-waste is composed of a complex mix of plastics and chemicals, including heavy metals and radioactive elements.

If not properly handled, it can be harmful to human health and the environment.

A UNEP study of 300 schoolchildren near Dandora, an unrestricted dumping ground, found that about 50 per cent of them had respiratory problems, and 30 per cent had blood abnormalities signaling heavy-metal poisoning.

The World Health Organisation places deaths of children under five from environmentally related illnesses worldwide at 4.7 million a year.

The theme of the conference is "E-waste, our collective responsibility".

According to Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP, "sustainable management of e-waste can combat poverty and create green jobs through recycling, collection and processing of e-waste".

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’22″

 

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