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May 22, 2014

Interpol, Norway and Switzerland aid Ghana's fight against e-waste

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International Police Organization (INTERPOL), government of Norway and Switzerland have been assisting the government of Ghana to fight the electronic waste (e- waste) proliferation in the country, Joseph Oteng-Adjei, minister of Environment, Science and Technology, said here on Tuesday.

“Interpol has been providing the Ghanaian authorities with intelligence on the major importers of e-waste into Ghana,” he explained.

The minister disclosed this when he addressed the media on developments under his watch over the past 12 months.

“This collaboration is helping us to stop the importation of e- waste at the countries of origin,” the minister stated.

Agbogbloshie, once a fertile wetland but now a slum in the capital, is designated the world’s largest e-waste dump where broken down electronic appliances such as refrigerators, television sets, computers, radio-sets and many more.

The minister noted that an in-country assessment had been conducted to establish the volume of e-waste generated domestically.

“The information would assist in developing appropriate policy and legal responses to the issue,” he added.

According to Oteng-Adjei, guidelines on e-waste importation had also been developed to guide importers of e-waste while the dealers at Agbogbloshie had been engaged and sensitized on the effects of their recovery methods on the environment.

“Two of them were sent to Sweden to study alternative environmentally friendly recovery methods,” he disclosed.

The minister further announced that, under the Norwegian government capacity building program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had drafted waste regulations, including e-waste, which would be subjected to stakeholder validation before being submitted to cabinet for approval.

He said the legal framework was expected to help regulate e- waste operations and also create opportunities for good business.

According to him, the Swiss government had also offered Ghana a grant of 1.2 million Swiss Francs to undertake studies at Agbogbloshie.

As part of its Climate Change Adaptation program, the government has banned the importation of used fridges and also asked people to trade in their old refrigerators in an arrangement to purchase ozone-friendly ones at a discount.