The Gauteng Department of e-Government has teamed up with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to launch the newly-established Gauteng e-Waste Management System.
The project, to tackle the province’s mounting e-waste, will be launched tomorrow.
In a statement, UJ says e-waste refers to the disposal of electrical and electronic gadgets. It notes the e-waste management system is being implemented as a solution to help improve the collection, recycling and safe disposal of e-waste in the province.
Gauteng is regarded as “the hub of the South African economy” due to the various industrial economic activities that take place in the province, says the varsity.
This has, however, resulted in the accumulation of e-waste, caused by residents’ high use of technological products, such as home appliances, mobile phones and computers, it adds.
According to UJ, South Africa has about 360 000 tonnes of e-waste each year and Gauteng accounts for about 55% of the national e-waste.
A lack of a proper e-waste management system could result in drastic harmful effects on human lives and the environment, it notes.
“The e-waste management system has, therefore, been established to help address the challenges of poorly coordinated e-waste management in the province. Apart from helping in educating Gauteng residents on issues of e-waste, the project will also instil a culture of recycling electronics,” says UJ.
Says Gauteng MEC of e-government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, who is leading the project on behalf of the provincial government: “Through this project, the Gauteng Provincial Government aims to achieve a sustainable e-waste management solution that will ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment.
“The e-waste management system will also assist in inspiring creativity among the youth, to be able to recycle and create something meaningful from discarded gadgets. This will further assist in stimulating the economy through SMME support and job creation.”
Professor Saurabh Sinha, UJ’s deputy vice-chancellor for research and internationalisation, says the rapid pace of the fourth industrial revolution has compelled all sectors of society to consider novel solutions to current problems.
“Among other issues, South Africa and Africa as a whole are confronted with massive mountaintops of unused electronic devices, most notably computers (which are either stored, dumped, or imported), as well as tumultuous electrical and electronic waste that is growing at an exponential rate – much faster than Africa's contemporary ICT challenges.
“The collaboration between eGov and the University of Johannesburg represents a coming together of minds to implement a strategy that will create an enabling environment that unlocks the potential of e-waste for South Africa, by allowing for an equitable profit distribution across the value chain and allowing for participation in public-private partnerships by SMMEs and the informal sector.
“In addition to ensuring a clean, healthy and safe environment, the strategy will also stimulate the economy through supporting SMMEs and job development, allowing it to be implemented.”