Jamaica News: The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is to host public and private consultations soon, on a draft of its electrical and electronic (e-waste) regulations.
When signed into the law, the regulations will require traders of computers, printers, televisions, mobile phones and refrigerators to take them back at end-of-life and dispose of them in an environmentally sound manner.
Senior Investigator at the NSWMA, Phillip Morgan, explained that e-waste ought not to be found on disposal sites and must be “treated differently from the regular domestic waste”.
“When batteries, for example, from cell phones are run over by tractors or so, they tend to spark. We have different types of waste that when broken down produces gases and that spark could cause fire at the disposal site,” he pointed out.
Mr. Morgan was speaking to JIS News at a public-sector consultation on the National Policy for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous Wastes, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on February 12.
The consultation is led by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, in collaboration with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the NSWMA.
E-waste generated by personal computers, phones and televisions often contain hazardous waste, such as lead and mercury, which can leak into the environment and cause serious health problems to exposed persons.
The National Policy for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous Waste addresses the management of hazardous wastes in an integrated life-cycle approach, that is, from its generation, minimisation, reuse, recovery and treatment to final disposal.
It acknowledges the fundamental right of Jamaicans, in keeping with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom (Constitutional Amendment) Act of 2011, which speaks to the right to enjoy a healthy and productive environment free from the threat of injury or damage from environmental abuse and degradation of the ecological heritage.
Recognising this right, the goal of the policy is to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.
The policy is also in keeping with Jamaica’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030; in particular, goal 4.
Under this goal, Jamaica focuses on the effective management of the country’s natural resources to ensure the continued provision of essential environmental services.
It also focuses on the design of environmental policies that internalise the cost of pollution and environmental damage into the product costs of all economic activities.
Mr. Morgan described the policy as timely, and which “will go a very far way in setting our mandate for the management of solid waste on this island”.
Meanwhile, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Yaneke Watson, said the policy will provide guidance to the public and private sectors on packaging, labelling, transportation and treatment of hazardous waste.
“Having this policy across all agencies and utilising it will create the best practices that we need to drive sound environmental practices,” he said.
For her part, Manager of the Pollution Prevention Branch at NEPA, Bethune Morgan, said the consultation is another significant step in ensuring “a robust and holistic policy that allows for coordination of efforts of the multiplicity of stakeholders”.
“This policy bears direct association with the Basel Convention, Stockholm Convention, Rotterdam Convention and the Minamata Convention on Mercury as well as the Strategic Approach to Integrated Chemical Management,” she said.
Ms. Morgan added that the policy provides an additional tool with which to enhance implementation of the agreements, while reducing the threats to public health locally and globally.
Source: JIS News