Wed | Feb 24, 2021

Gov’t looks to turn discarded electronic devices into cash - New guidelines for e-waste coming, says NSWMA boss

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM
An aerial view of 11 of the 12 new trucks acquired by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development to boost the capacity of the National Solid Waste Management Authority to handle garbage collection.
Audley Gordon, executive director National Solid Waste Management Agency, speaking with The Gleaner at yesterday's handover ceremony.

The public will soon have to receive special instructions on how to dispose of discarded electrical and electronic devices, or e-waste.

That’s the word from National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) Executive Director Audley Gordon, who told The Gleaner yesterday that 18,910 square metres of land has been identified in St Catherine to temporarily store e-waste.

“We have just secured a property at Hill Run in St Catherine, which we received from the Sugar (Industry) Authority to be used as a centre for the temporary storage of e-waste. Very shortly, we will be saying to the public, this is how they must treat discarded computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones and other [devices].”

Gordon pointed out that the location still needs to be retrofitted for this purpose.

“We are also looking at creating an industry out of this by looking at overseas markets – such as our friends in South Korea – where we can ship those discarded electronic devices,” he told The Gleaner yesterday as 12 new compactor garbage trucks, valued at nearly US$1.75 million, were commissioned into service at the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s offices on Hagley Park Road in St Andrew.

Gordon also pointed out that the divestment of the Riverton City landfill is still a priority for the NSWMA.

He said a meeting is scheduled for later this week between the local enterprise team set up to manage the divestment process and the International Finance Corporation.

“There is little doubt that we intend to divest this site to allow for persons who have the requisite expertise in garbage collection and site management to undertake that role, while the NSWMA would deal with regulating the sector. That’s where we are heading,” Gordon noted.

He said that the hope is that a final position on the way forward will be taken at this meeting.

“It is an ongoing process and I think the public is getting anxious [as] they are hearing a lot of promises in terms of the divestment, in terms of the way forward, but I think that they are at that point where they need to see some movement on that front,” Gordon noted.

The nine-member enterprise team, led by businessman Lyttleton Shirley, named in 2016 was also given the task to manage the process of the Government’s waste-to-energy programme.

At the time, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the Government had received more than 30 expressions of interest to either bid on the waste-to-energy programme or to collect solid waste, or both.