(EMU) Basseterre, St. Kitts: To circumvent the improper disposal of Electronic Waste, stakeholders in the Enhancement of Learning Continuity and Inclusion (ELC&I) Project participated in a consultation on E-Waste management held at the Solid Waste Management Corporation conference room on Wednesday, April 12.
The increase in the use of electronic devices as the federation incorporates digitalized learning into its curriculum naturally results in a surge in E-Waste which requires specialized disposal.
Mr. Christopher Herbert, Director of Education Management Information System (EMIS) expressed “The E-Waste Management Project is a critical component of The Enhancement of Learning Continuity and Inclusion (ELC&I) Project; a project that is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank in response to challenges recognized during Covid. During that unfortunate shutdown, it was clearly realized by our educators that our environment was not yet sufficiently structured to respond with a sense of timeliness and comprehensive preparedness to meet the needs of the various stakeholders; teachers, students and parents. The project was crafted and a very critical component of that project is the provision of devices for students and for teachers”.
Solidifying the need for the E-Waste Management Project, Mr. Herbert communicated “With the number of devices that were procured, it was realized very quickly that there was a bit of a challenge with regards to the responsible disposal of the devices. At the end of the lifespan of the devices, there is a responsibility, a requirement for the disposal of these devices. Most of us unfortunately without a view of the dangers, the harm of simply just tossing an old phone or laptop into the garbage, just do so. Through this project we’ve become just a bit more alert to the environmental challenge of indiscriminate and irresponsible disposal of these technological devices.”
Explaining the impact of improper disposal of E-Waste on the environment, Mr. Christopher continued, “There is quite a bit of hazardous material in every device that we utilized; from Mercury to Cadmium to Lithium to Arsenic. These all have very specific uses in the devices and are typically well shielded from the casual use of the device, however, on disposal of the devices we [stakeholders] see the challenges. We see some of these hazardous materials being leeched into the ground, we see it over time perhaps being absorbed into the soil, perhaps even into the groundwater if so irresponsibly disposed. With it being incinerated we see quite a number of carcinogenic toxic fumes being released into the atmosphere. The need for the responsible disposal of our technology devices is what created the need for the E-Waste Management Project.”
The stakeholders from the Department of Environment, Bureau of Standards, Solid Waste Management of both St Kitts and Nevis and the Ministry of Education discussed a plan which aims to structure a phased approach to addressing both medium and long term responsible technology disposal as well as avenues for awareness building, E-Waste policy advocacy, and enhanced practices for the disposal of E-Waste.