The Mayor of Accra, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije has cut sod for work to begin on the $30 Million recycling plant to be constructed at Agbogbloshie in Accra to address the electronic waste (e-waste) materials generated in the country.
The construction of the plant, dubbed the Agbogbloshie E-Waste Recycling Facility, is being funded by a French company, SGS Limited and is to be managed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The project, which is expected to be completed by June 2017, will recycle all e-waste materials in an environmentally sound manner.
It is estimated that the plant, together with its entire value chain, will generate more than 400,000 jobs.
In a speech read on his behalf during the sod cutting ceremony, President John Mahama said, the rapid advancement of the Information, Communication Technology (ICT) era came with its negative consequences.
He said developing countries, including Ghana, were the destination of about 450 million tonnes of e-waste generated annually by the developed countries.
“This makes e-waste a global problem and one of the top environmental challenges in the 21st Century, more so as e-waste contains hazardous substances including heavy metals such as mercury and led,” the President said.
President Mahama also pointed out that, the growing use of ICT had led to the drastic increase in the importation of second-hand computers and other electronic gadgets, most of which had exhausted their life-span.
According to him, the importation of the waste materials to developing countries was done illegally in contravention of international and regional laws.
The President explained that it was as a result of the government desire to control the menace of e-waste that Parliament in August this year passed the Electronic Waste Control and management Act, Act 917.
Mr Francis Gavor, a representative of SGS Ltd, who conducted the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo and the Mayor of Accra round the site, described the technology to be adopted for their operations as the best.
“The EPA has chosen the best of technology to be able to recycle all electrical and electronic e-waste including used car tyres,” he mentioned.
Mr Gavor additionally indicated that there would be collection centres, where people who presented e-waste materials for recycling, would be paid.
The Acting Executive Director of the EPA, Mr John A. Pwamang, said the plant would relieve the people of Accra and its environs, particularly the Agbogbloshie community, the toxic pollutants generated from the burning of e-waste.
“With the new facility, harmful elements associated with waste products will be captured and processed safely, thereby preserving critical ecological components,” he explained.
According to Mr Pwamang, those already in the scrap business will be absorbed after going through an in-depth retraining to enable them to work at the facility.
Also, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, announced plans between stakeholders and the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) to develop the Agbogbloshie dump site into a first-class sporting facility.
In an interview with the Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, after the ceremony, he indicated that the facility is expected to recycle all electrical and electronic waste to final products in an environmentally sound manner, relieving the people of Accra and its environs, specifically Agbogbloshie community, of toxic pollutants generated from the burning of e-waste.
He opined that Agbogbloshie has in recent times been cited among the top ten most polluted sites in the world and the biggest e-waste dumps in Africa, hence the need for innovative ways to manage the e-waste being generated.
Dr. Okoe Vanderpuije said, with this new facility, harmful elements associated with waste products will be captured and processed safely, thereby preserving critical ecological components adding that the project is expected to generate over 400,000 jobs for Ghanaians.
The project, when fully implemented, will ensure the value-chain management of e-waste and electrical equipment in an environmentally sound manner thus turning the current challenges of E-waste management in the country into green business opportunities for the people of Ghana.
By: Prosper Agbenyega