Distributive policy

Speakers call for the development of an e-waste management policy

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a policy conclave on e-waste management held at COMSATS Islamabad University (CUI) on Friday called for the development of a revised policy with a consolidated approach to e-waste management.

The event was organized with the support of Dr. Jabir Syed from the Department of Meteorology and Dr. Tahir Mumtaz Awan from the Incharge China Study Centre.

Professor Sajjad Ahmed Madani said that according to a live e-waste counter in 2022, more than nine million tonnes of electrical items were disposed of.

He recommended using the 3Rs and returning products to manufacturers rather than throwing them away.

Dr. Jabir Syed, Assistant Professor, CUI, gave an overview of e-waste, which includes all electronic devices that are no longer in use.

According to collected statistics, 53 million tons of electronic waste are produced every year.

He mentioned that China banned solid waste in 2019 and extracted 1 ton of gold from e-waste.

Teacher. Dr. Perihan Kurt-Karakus, Busra Technical University, Turkey joined the conclave via video recording.

She talked about the whole sampling strategy of their research process and gave a detailed description of the method they use to deal with e-waste.

The keynote speaker, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Climate Change, Dr. Zaigham Abbas, listed various projects including the Mina Matta Convention and the Basel Conventions.

He surmised that we should also opt for the extraction of precious metals from e-waste. He sadly pointed to the open burning of e-waste in some cities in Pakistan.

He explained that there are no adequate regulatory measures to properly manage e-waste.

Dr. Zaigham concluded by saying that we must abide by international conventions and create mass awareness among ordinary people.

He recommended a healthy environment for the implementation of the electronic waste treatment policy.

Dr. Tahir Waseem from the Pakistan Science Foundation proposed some policies which included strengthening links between universities and the media industry and providing scholarships for students to study abroad and gain exposure to the world international.

Professor Kevin C. Jones, Lancaster University, UK, also attended the session via video recording.

He felt obligated to be a partner in such an important project. His proposition was that e-waste is not properly handled in Pakistan, regardless of the fact that Pakistan is the second largest importer.

Dr. Tahir Mumtaz Awan and Dr. Jabir Syed moderated the breakout session by explaining the agenda items to the speakers. Dr. Ashiq Muhammad, Professor at the University of Bahria, introduced the audience to some of the shortcomings in the process of developing e-waste management policies, including the lack of technical expertise and the lack of coordination between stakeholders.

Dr. Sohail Yousaf, a professor at Quaid-e-Azam University, surmised that e-waste contributes a lot to climate change and that Pakistan has yet to develop an appropriate policy. Learning from advanced countries like USA, Japan and UK, Saima William represented Pakistan Mission Society and urged policy makers to come up with revised policy and provide consolidated solutions for e-waste management and other hazardous waste.

Dr. Hussain Haider Rizvi, Director of SUPARCO, highlighted the issues that need to be addressed in detail and suggested that GIS systems could be used to locate landfills in different locations in the country to have solutions on the ground.

Syed Paras Ali, editor of Technology Times, highlighted coordinated efforts in the mainstream by celebrating national days regarding e-waste management to raise awareness among lay people. Jameel Asghar Bhatti of SWAP, offers an alternative to prevent people from using hazardous materials and believes that a policy without involving stakeholders is useless.

Shahbaz Gul Awan, CEO of e-Waste Management, highlighted policies that require practical and proper implementation. An appropriate data destruction policy for recycling mobile phones is the demand of the day.

Dr. Zafeer Saqib, IIUI, spoke about appropriate solutions because the environment knows no boundaries. Ziaul Islam, Ministry of Climate Change, emphasized capacity building by strengthening EPAs. Mr. Ammar Jafri focused on empowering young people to understand the importance of e-waste management.

The event was concluded by Prof. Shahid A. Khan, Head of ORIC, COMSATS University Islamabad, highlighting policy implementation and bringing about positive change from self to state.

The session ended with the distribution of souvenirs to all speakers and valued speakers.