Tackling E-Waste: How ICT Authority is Taking the Lead in Electronic Waste Management

Find out how the ICT Authority in Kenya is tackling the challenge of e-waste, promoting responsible disposal, and driving employment opportunities.

Oct 2, 2023 - 11:13
Tackling E-Waste:  How ICT Authority is Taking the Lead in Electronic Waste Management
Tackling E-Waste: How ICT Authority is Taking the Lead in Electronic Waste Management

In Kenya's digital age, the proliferation of electronic devices is undeniable. But with the rapid adoption of technology comes an ever-growing challenge: managing electronic waste, or e-waste. Kenya, a nation in East Africa, has taken a bold step towards addressing this concern. Not only are they looking at the environmental implications, but they are also considering the vast potential to create jobs and ensure sustainable growth in this sector.

The Role of ICTA in E-Waste Management

The ICT Authority (ICTA) has become a beacon of hope in the fight against e-waste in Kenya. Taking the lead in managing electronic waste for public institutions, they provide a structured system where such entities can deliver their unwanted electronic items. This initiative aligns perfectly with Section 176 of the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act (2020). Under this Act, there is a clear directive for an accounting officer of a procuring entity to prepare an annual plan for disposing of assets deemed unserviceable or obsolete.Furthermore, the Act's Section 177 emphasises establishing a disposal committee, specifically targeting e-waste management within public institutions.

The ICTA's goal for this fiscal year is ambitious: collect 100,000 devices from 284 public organizations, including State Corporations, Universities, and TVETs. Institutions can conveniently drop their e-waste at the National Refurbishment, Assembly, and E-waste Management Facility in Nairobi.

ICTA's partnership with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) has already shown promising results. They have gathered over 11,103 devices from 42 public institutions to date. Out of these, they've tested 2,696 devices, ensuring they're managed appropriately.

In a recent public sector meeting focused on e-waste, Stanley Kamanguya, the CEO of the ICT Authority, emphasized the critical need for more public institutions to engage actively. "We need to give this e-waste issue the attention it rightfully deserves. Not only are we safeguarding our environment, but we lose tremendous value when these devices are left unused," said Kamanguya.

Beyond Just Disposal

Zilpher Owiti, the Director of Partnerships, Innovations, and Capacity Development at the ICT Authority, mirrors the sentiment of Kamanguya but also highlights a broader vision. She sees this initiative as an environmental project and a significant employment drive, particularly for the youth. The entire value chain of e-waste management, from collection to recycling, demands a workforce. "This initiative provides a golden opportunity for us to repair, reuse, and engage our youth actively," Owiti commented.

For the upcoming year, the ICT Authority has set a target to gather 100,000 devices from various government entities. However, they're not stopping there. They aim to expand their efforts to the private sector and individual contributors. Owiti also mentioned forming a committee of 15 organizations, emphasizing the importance of driving awareness and sustaining this significant project.

Jane Njoroge, a renowned Procurement Policy Consultant, sheds light on the need for institutions to adopt and enforce sustainable procurement practices. She believes that the government plays a pivotal role in ensuring that responsible consumption and production are maintained in line with SDG goal no. 12.

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