Gauteng government, UJ join hands to find e-solutions to waste problems

The disposal of cellphones, laptops and old gadgets no longer has to be a hassle, thanks to Gauteng province’s new e-waste system.

The Gauteng Electronic-Waste System, expected to be launched on March 1, is a collaboration between the province’s department of e-government and the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Gauteng alone accounts for about 55% of total national waste.

During his state of the province address on Monday, Gauteng premier David Makhura indicated that a new system to manage e-waste in the province was in the pipeline.

E-waste management is expected to coordinate the recycling of abandoned or unused cellphones, computers and refrigerators, and residents are urged to take these devices to e-waste depots that have been set up across the province.

UJ said in a statement that a lack of proper e-waste management system could result in harmful effects on lives and the environment.

Professor Saurabh Sinha, the deputy vice-chancellor for research and internationalisation at UJ, said the rapid pace of the Fourth Industrial Revolution had compelled all the sectors of society to consider novel solutions to current problems.

Sinha explained: “The collaboration between e-gov and the University of Johannesburg represents a coming together of minds to implement a strategy that will create an enabling environment that unlocks the potential of e-waste for South Africa by allowing for an equitable profit distribution across the value chain, and to allow for participation in public-private partnerships by SMMEs and the informal sector.”

Gauteng MEC of e-government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko agreed, saying the project would help stimulate the economy.

Nkomo-Ralehoko said: “Through this project, the Gauteng provincial government aims to achieve a sustainable e-waste management solution that will ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment.

“The e-waste management system will also assist inspire creativity among the youth to be able to recycle and create something meaningful from discarded gadgets.”

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Coceka Magubeni

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