TANZANIA and other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are strategising on how to tackle e-waste that is on the increase due to increasing pace of technological developments.
A meeting of technical experts, permanent secretaries and ministers responsible for environment, natural resources and tourism from the 16-member bloc taking place here will address the challenge and forge solutions to the same.
A communiqué from SADC notes that the Community recognises the importance of sustainable use and management of the environment in the fight against poverty and food insecurity.
Sustainable development means economic development integrates concerns about the people of the region and the environment that many depend upon for their livelihoods.
Waste management, pollution, inadequate access to sanitation services and poor urban conditions are identified as some of the major challenges to development in the SADC region.
In order to address the challenges the SADC under the chairmanship of Tanzania is committed to promoting sound environmental management through pollution control, waste management and environmental education.
The Environmental Senior Official from the Vice-President's Office in Tanzanian Government, Mr Thomas Chali, explained here that there are challenges in environmental issues and singled out electrical and electronic waste as a major headache to be controlled sooner than later.
He gave an example of gadgets that are imported in huge volumes and in a stint of about three to four years have to be disposed of.
However, he said there was light at the end of the tunnel as the government was in final stages for putting in place importation, use and disposal of such equipment.
Consumer electronic goods are allpervasive in society, and the rapid and increasing pace of technological developments means that the equipment becomes obsolete quicker, meaning more and more of this kind of waste is being generated.
Furthermore, the goods often include parts that are made from or that generate toxic substances when broken-down or disassembled.
That is e-waste and it is becoming a growing and increasingly serious problem worldwide.
The Southern African Telecommunications Association has drafted Guidelines for e-Waste Disposal.
The guidelines allow for identification of various sources of e-waste and prescribe procedures for e-waste handling.
The guidelines also call for the establishment of a SADC e-Waste Recycling Plant that recycles waste in an environmentally sound manner.
SADC member states have committed themselves to integrated and sustainable development.
The commitment is reflected by the SADC Treaty establishing the organisation and active participation in the negotiations and ratification of major multilateral environmental agreements.
The commitment is also demonstrated through their active participation in the negotiations and ratification of major Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).
To this end, the SADC region has endeavored to put in place mechanisms for the implementation of MEAs such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Others are United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); Basel/Bamako Convention; Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Ramsar Convention.
In addition, member states are committed to the attainment of Millennium Development Goals including those that promote environmental sustainability.
While encouraging progress is being made in environmental management in the region, land degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, pollution, inadequate access to clean water and sanitation services and poor urban conditions continue to threaten sustainable development.
Those environmental challenges and social conditions undermine sustainable socio-economic development in the region.
These factors are linked to the high levels of poverty in the region, whereby the poor are victims and agents of environmental degradation.