Tony Roberts, founder and CEO of Computer Aid International, has voiced his concern about the situation and called on governments and companies to end the toxic trade:
“The limitations of the current legislative framework for e-waste are highlighted by Blood, Sweat and Luxuries. Computer Aid International launched a campaign in September 2008, against e-waste dumping in the developing world, however two years on this issue remains unresolved.
“Fraudulent traders are continuing to operate in the UK and Europe, posing as legitimate reuse and recycling organisations and enticing unwitting businesses to use them for disposal of electrical equipment. These traders do not declare the contents of their shipments as hazardous e-waste, but falsely claim consignments consist entirely of electrical equipment destined for productive reuse.
“Because of these traders, hazardous materials reach the developing world, where many children and marginalised communities face serious health risks while disassembling the equipment.
“Computer Aid International has called upon on the UK government to remove the loop holes in the UK WEEE Directive that allows sham reuse, and is emphasising the importance of taking action, to prevent the UK’s hazardous waste being exported to the developing world. As a charity we actively support the Environment Agency in arresting and prosecuting these e-waste cowboys.
“Computer Aid also calls on computer manufacturers that shirk responsibility for their equipment dumped in developing countries, to fund end-of-life recycling in Africa, in exactly the same way that they already do within the EU.
“UK companies can easily ensure that their own PCs do not fall into the hands of unscrupulous traders by taking seven steps. They need to make sure they use a reputable organisation that will guarantee the legal disposal of unwanted goods. It’s easy to check companies on the Environment Agency website to make sure they are registered as an Approved Authorised Treatment Facility (AATF) to handle e-waste legally and responsibly.
“Companies should also consider the implications of their decisions on the environment, and ask themselves do we want our data to end up in a dump in Ghana?”
Computer Aid International is a leading non-profit provider of ICT for development, having professionally refurbished over 160,000 PCs for use in schools, hospitals and community projects in more than 100 countries such as Rwanda, Chile and Zambia. The charity focuses its efforts on socially responsible reuse schemes instead of mass recycling or disposal.
Computer Aid International also offers corporate peace of mind through its PC decommissioning service, which guarantees complete data destruction using the Kroll Ontrack data wiping software. Corporate benefactors are also provided with the assurance of compliance with all UK legislation, including the WEEE Directive, Data Protection Act and Environment Act.