Francis Monnie - Ghana
Ghana’s E-Waste Management workshop, which was held at the Catholic Guest House in Tamale was attended by Diocesan Development Coordinators from Tamale, Navrongo/
Bolgatanga, Wa, Damongo and Yendi Arch/Dioceses and representatives from the Tamale Caritas Committee, Tamale Archdiocesan Youth Council and some parish youth Chaplains.
Workshop inspired by Laudato Sì
The workshop was based on the encyclical, “Laudato Sì” in which Pope Francis critiques consumerism and irresponsible development; deplores environmental degradation and global warming, and makes a call on humanity to protect the environment from destruction. In furtherance of this call, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) issued a directive to Caritas Ghana to develop local structures for sustainable E-Waste management in Ghana.
In his welcome address, which was read on his behalf by Fr. Carolus Magnus Gambogi, Administrator of the Our Lady of Annunciation Cathedral, Archbishop Philip Naameh of Tamale and President of the GCBC, stated that the Church’s primary purpose and interest in addressing electronic and plastic waste is to control increased damage to the environment, human health and livelihoods.
Collection and processing of E-Waste can create opportunities for young people
Describing unemployment as “The greatest potential threat to social cohesion, democratic governance and national security in Ghana and in many parts of the world”, Archbishop Naameh observed that if the collection and processing of E-Waste were properly organised, it would create job opportunities for the youth. He said the solution to unemployment should not be left to government alone; assuring that the Church is committed to lending a helping hand based on her record of accomplishments in promoting integral human development.
The Archbishop stated that the Church wants to approach this initiative with innovation instead of the traditional model of charity and social services, explaining that the intention is to learn from and integrate business models in the E-Waste management initiative. In this regard, he said the Church is looking for partnerships that would provide investment capital for a Business Plan, not for the sake of profits and interest but for sustainability.
Caritas Ghana partners with GIZ
Mr Markus Spitzbart, Head of E-Waste Programme at GIZ who is also an Adviser on E-Waste Management to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and Mr Georg Kerkloh, a Technical Adviser to Caritas Ghana, were the Resource Persons. They took participants through various topics such as safety measures in handling E-Waste, recycling of E-Waste and the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act 2016, (Act 917). They also supervised participants in dismantling some discarded appliances safely.
Need for dismantling facitilities
Earlier, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Director of Caritas Ghana stated that the workshop marks the beginning of the expansion of the Caritas E-Waste Project outside Accra, adding that the focus this time will not only be on collecting E-Waste but also setting up a dismantling facility which would offer job opportunities for the youth of the TEP.
E-Waste refers to any appliance or gadget powered by electricity that has reached its end point of life and has thus been discarded because it is old, spoilt or damaged. They include a wide range of domestic and IT appliances such as air-conditioners, refrigerators, television sets, washing machines, computers, vacuum cleaners, mobile phones and bulbs among others.