Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) has recently conducted its 10th community lecture for the year at the Emarat Atrium in Dubai with the topic "Sustainable e-waste management.” The lecture revealed the environmental and health risks posed by the growing levels of e-waste, and outlined the steps required to prevent the e-waste problem from escalating.
Electronic waste or e-waste has been defined as electrical or electronic devices that have outlived their usefulness. A report by Pike Research has revealed that between 75 and 85 per cent of e-waste are sent directly to a landfill or incinerator, with very few being recycled or delivered to e-waste disposal facilities. The report concluded that low consumer effort to recycle or segregate discarded electronic devices has been a major cause of the growing e-waste problem.
Dr. Radhiya Al Hashimi, Executive committee member of EEG, said, "There is just so much waste that goes into the environment and we all must share the responsibility of addressing this issue. As individuals, we can contribute by segregating our waste to make sure that e-wastes are delivered to the proper disposal systems. Public support – and that includes you, me and each and every household of our society – is critically important in this campaign because studies have indicated that there has been low consumer effort to recycle or segregate e-waste."
Mia Ranta-aho, Senior Environmental Manager for Nokia Middle East and Africa, who was the lecture's guest speaker, said: “We must take proactive steps to maintain the level of electronic waste and ensure that it does not increase alarmingly, especially as the UAE is considered as one of the largest consumers of electrical and electronic devices in the world. The private sector, particularly companies in the electronics industry, must actively participate in promoting and implementing sustainable e-waste management."
The lecture lauded the "take-back" program by Nokia in collaboration with EEG and e-waste collection campaigns initiated by non-government organisations as positive steps towards creating greater public awareness about the critical importance of proper e-waste disposal. The lecture also recognised Dubai Municipality's e-waste collection program, wherein all electronic equipment collected are refurbished and redistributed as second-hand devices.
The community lecture is EEG’s free public service on pressing environmental issues and concerns. It is attended by people from different backgrounds and orientations but having a common concern for the environment.
Besides the 10th Community Lecture, EEG is involved in a series of events throughout the year. It conducted a Students Workshop in Dubai from October 19 to 22, 2009, and held the Arabia CSR Awards on the 26th of October, while it will organize an Inter-College Public Speaking Competition from November 18 to 19. Also, on December 12th this year, EEG will hold its "Clean up UAE Campaign," which has been a long-term initiative that targets the most polluted parts of the country in an effort to improve the community's environmental awareness.
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