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Sri Lanka: Proposals sought for construction of e-waste facility

Central Environment Authority (CEA) Chairman Udaya Gammanpila has directed CEA officials to submit proposals to construct an electronic- waste recycling facility to deal with unregulated e-waste disposals.


CEA sources said, the Authority was in the process of preparing proposals for constructing a e-waste facility together with necessary legislations to ensure safe and environmentally friendly e-waste disposal and recycling practices.


As pointed out by CEA officials, electronic products such as mobile phones, ray tubes of TV and computer monitors contain quantities of toxic metals and persistent organic chemicals including environmentally hazardous lead, cadmium, mercury and brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.


The CEA official said , the Authority had obtained approval of the Supreme Court in November ,2008 to implement a mobile phone tax. The mobile phone tax is yet to be implemented through the Finance Ministry, he said.


"This is a tax introduced mainly to apprise the public of their responsibility towards the environment in the wake of electronic scrap with much of it being imported from countries with the market of mobile phones growing rapidly in the country with over six million people using them," he said.


CEA Director General Pasan Gunasena said, " The mobile phones contain toxic metals and chemicals that can contaminate our water courses and soil. If we should allow unregulated dumping for a long time it can end up in a major environmental disaster."


According to a report from Greenpeace International, e-waste in Asia remains largely unregulated and its impact on recycling workers, surrounding communities, water courses and soils are poorly studied.


Every year 20 to 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated world-wide, the report said. Sri Lanka is yet to determine the quantity of e-waste it discards to the environment without recycling.


Source: Chamikara Weerasinghe, Daily News

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