28 November 2020
Environment, ICT Ministers Discuss Stimulating Investment in E-waste

The Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad and the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat have met to discuss stimulating investment in the electronic waste field.

Fouad underlined that the Ministry of Environment is taking concrete and effective steps in e-waste management, in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). Since e-waste is a hazardous threat to human health and environment, it was necessary to develop a framework to regulate work in this area, to facilitate the e-waste collection process and send it to recycling factories.

The Minister of Environment thanked the ICT Minister for his collaboration with the Ministry of Environment in e-waste, and for his efforts to assist the Ministry of Environment in the solid waste field. This was achieved through developing an electronic system that tracks those who throw garbage and detect the places where garbage was thrown, thus helping regulate work in the waste field in general.

For his part, the ICT Minister commended the efforts of the Ministry of Environment to manage all kinds of waste. He said that the Ministry of Environment is currently developing a system for collecting, automating and governing waste, capitalizing on technology, which reflects the growing role of the Ministry in serving the environment and protecting people’s health.

Talaat added that the two Ministries are cooperating in e-waste, given the high priority of this topic, pushing the state to issue a law on waste management to regulate work in this field.

The Deputy ICT Minister for Administrative Development, Digital Transformation and Automation Khaled El Attar stated that there is an agreement between the Egyptian and Swiss governments to regulate work in the e-waste field. The agreement aims to provide the largest possible amount of e-waste to factories and create a complete inventory of devices, especially in light of the digital transformation and the increased number of electronics in Egypt.

The Medical and E-Waste Management Project Manager Tarek El-Araby said that the Ministry of Environment seeks to make e-waste reach the official sector. Statistics show that the government sector generates about 19% of e-waste; the private sector, about 58%; and families, about 23% of it. The problem with families is that they sell electronics to small dealers of used devices.

The Ministry of Environment works in cooperation with partners to launch a digital application for collecting e-waste in exchange for discount vouchers on new products, as well as to regulate and set standards for the auctions that help sell e-waste from different agencies. In addition, more standards were developed to prevent e-waste from reaching the informal sector that adopts a triage policy, utilizing valuable parts only and disposing of hazardous part in an unsafe manner. Standards will involve disposing of hazardous parts in a safe manner, as well as ensuring making optimum use of valuable parts.

El-Araby said that instructions and handbooks were developed and adhered to by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the governmental safety authority, contributing to achieving the desired goals, and even reaching results beyond the desired goals.

Moreover, El-Araby highlighted that the Ministry of Environment designed an application to help families exchange their devices for discount vouchers at some electronics stores, thus helping reach families easily. The number of e-waste recycling factories now officially operational in Egypt, has increased from one to seven factories, with five more to start operating in this field.

It is worth mentioning that a national committee was formed to regulate work in the e-waste field, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, MCIT, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Health, the National Telecom Regulatory Agency (NTRA) and the Center For Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE).

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