Ghana’s Parliament has passed the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control Management Bill, 2016 into Law.
The bill which was presented to Parliament and read for the first time on Tuesday, the 7th of June, 2016 was passed into law on Thursday, the 7th of July, 2016, after it had passed through the required consideration, deliberation, as well as the second and third readings.
‘Honourable Members, the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Bill, 2016, is duly read for the third time and passed’, the Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho said.
Speaking to GhanaJustice.Com, Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology, Simon Edem Asimah said that the main object of the Bill, which is now an Act, is to make sure that the continuous importation of electrical, electronic and hazardous waste into the country is controlled.
He also explained that the Act, which has been gazzetted, would go back to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet, and then for Presidential assent, and then the Minister will take it up and run with it.
The Act is expected to be presented to the President, John Dramani Mahama for his assent.
The object of the bill, which is now an Act, is to provide for the control, management and disposal of hazardous waste, electrical and electronic waste and for related purposes.
The Bill is divided into two parts. Part One deals with hazardous waste and other waste and seeks to domesticate the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal whilst Part Two deals with electrical and electronic waste. It is a thirty-five (35) clause bill.
Discarded and electrical equipment such as computers, mobile phones, refrigerators, and television sets are considered to be among the fastest growing waste streams in the world with an estimated five to ten percent increase in global electronic waste (e-waste) annually.
Containers filled with old and broken-down computers, monitors, and television sets arrive in Ghana from Germany, Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands under the false label of ‘second-hand goods.’ Exporting e-waste from Europe is illegal but exporting old electronic goods for re-use is a means by which unscrupulous traders profit from dumping old electronic goods in Ghana. The contents of majority of the containers end up in Ghana’s scrap metal yards to be crushed and burned by unprotected workers. Statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Ghana’s e-waste assessment on importation of electronic equipment in 2009 revealed that used equipment represents seventy percent of all electrical and electronic gadgets brought into the country.
The present hazardous waste management in Ghana does not only pollute natural resources and endanger the health of people but also affects substantial business opportunity in material recovery and recycling.
In light of the above, it has become necessary to enact legislation on hazardous and electronic waste in order to ensure a sound waste management and recycling system to save the country’s forests and future generations and for Ghana to fulfil her obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste, the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
‘The Committee has carefully examined the provisions of the Bill in light of its objects and purpose and is of the view that they are consistent with the Constitution and other relevant statutes and accordingly recommends its passage by the House’, Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology, Simon Edem Asimah urged the House.
For his part, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mahama Ayariga said that the passage of the Bill is crucial because the improper treatment, storage, importation, disposal or management of hazardous waste and other waste poses a great danger to human health as well as the environment.