Cameroon currently hosts the first electronic waste collection point in Central Africa. The multibillion centre was opened in Yaounde on March 19 by the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre. The initiative known as “Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Cameroon” (WEEECAM) is implemented by the “Solidarite Technologique” non-profit organization. Its Resident Representative, Boris de Fautereau took part in the event. The six million Euros (circa FCFA 3.9 billion) project to be implemented within a period of five years will consist of industrial scale collection and recycling of electronic waste in the cities of Yaounde and Douala.
While launching the project, Minister Hele Pierre hailed the idea, noting that in recent years, information and communication technology has changed modern life, transformed international trade, governance, entertainment, transport, education and access to health care, but equally brought about unprecedented use of electronic equipment such as mobile phones and computers, with the Africa region lacking adequate measures and resources to manage waste from these equipment in an ecologically friendly manner. He disclosed that the rational management of electrical and electronic equipment waste in Cameroon is a challenge as the quantity of waste continues to grow rapidly and its informal management exposes the environment and citizens to risks brought about by toxic substances contained in the waste.
While pointing out the risks in informal disposal of electronic waste like burning or melting, the environment boss said that the management of such waste regarded as “urban mines” from which usable raw materials such as gold, silver and metals, among others can be found, is a strong driver of sustainable development. “These mines” contain economic interests,” he said, adding that government has put in place regulations that align with international conventions on environmental protection to rationalise the management of toxic waste in Cameroon.