THE influx of electronic devices which are outdated, obsolete, discarded or have outlived their usefulness have continued to flood this country without citizens’ knowledge of the major environmental and health impact that they bring in our communities, Integrated Community Anti-litter Initiative (ICALI) Chairperson Pascal Chikumbi has said.
Mr Chikumbi said some of these used electronic devices include desk computers, laptops, monitors, television sets, printers, scanners and many other electrical devices.
Some of the materials found in these electronic materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium and gases are extremely hazardous.
“When these used electronic devices end up in illegal dumping sites which have sprung up in central business districts and residential areas,” he said.
Mr Chikumbi noted that many of these chemicals leach into the soil during rainfall or are released into the atmosphere when they are incinerated.
He, however, said these chemicals had a dangerous impact on plants, water and the wildlife and when inhaled could lead to serious respiratory problems.
“Unfortunately, in most of African countries including Zambia where there is a challenge of effective disposal of electronic waste, these hazardous chemicals found in such devices will continue to contaminate or pollute the environment,” he said. The organisation has, therefore, appealed to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) Zambia Bureau of Standards and other relevant authorities to come up with strict monitory mechanism on how such obsolete electronic devices could be stopped or impounded at the point of entry.
He said the rapid growth of technology, combined with the relatively short shelf life of many present day electronic devices, more and more waste was being generated and it ended up in most African countries including Zambia.