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Old PCs - Do They Help Or Harm Africa?

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Old PCs - Do They Help Or Harm Africa?

COMPANIES are increasingly compelled to control their emissions and their environmental impact. Legislation specific to electronic waste (e-waste) disposal obliges companies to manage the disposal of computers and other equipment. The European Union's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive requires that e-waste is dismantled or recycled by specialists because of its toxic content. With the disposal of used IT equipment presenting a key challenge for many large organisations, the possibility of Africa becoming a convenient dumping ground for old equipment is a distinct reality. Should this be an issue if the equipment is still serviceable? There are two possible answers: if the equipment is serviceable, it can add value, but to what extent? If it is not serviceable, it poisons For many companies, the donation of old but useable equipment provides a convenient disposal route and is in line with their corporate social responsibility programmes. For the recipients, there is the chance to enter the world of electronics and computing. But this social contract has a more sinister side. Investigations by environmental activists Greenpeace have shown that even completely unserviceable, irreparable computer parts leave Europe bound for Africa and Asia every day. Reported in PC World, Greenpeace said: "Some will be repaired and reused, but many are beyond repair, meaning that they will eventually be dumped in places where no facilities exist for safe recycling."

Source: Allafrica