Jun 15 2010
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Qatar: E-waste law soon; draft in the works
The ministry's decision comes as Qatar's stock of e-waste is burgeoning and the country has committed to reducing its carbon footprint.
The proposed law, the first of its kind in the region, will contain specific directives to dealers in electronic goods in the country and stipulations for customers on how to manage old and defunct electronic gadgets,
"The ministry is in the preliminary stage of drafting the law. We will put in all the ideas required for bringing down the country's e-waste to the zero level. Qatar would be the first country in the region to come out with a law to manage e-waste", said Dr Rashid Al Kuwari of the Ministry of Environment.
As a precursor to the Ministry of Environment's ambitious plans to cut the country's carbon footprint, Qtel yesterday launched Qatar's first-ever e-waste recycling programme, which would ensure the safe and secure disposal of mobile phones and other electronic equipment.
"Working under the Ministry of Environment, we have developed a programme that would allow people to safely dispose of potentially hazardous e-waste.... From today, all Qtel shops throughout Qatar will now feature a "drop box' disposal area that serves as the designated drop-off site for e-waste items like mobile phones and laptops, which contain heavy metals that can harm the environment", said Adel Al Mutawa, Executive Director, Group Communications, Qtel .
Disposing of a mobile phone is simple, Mutawa added.
What the customers have to do is to remove the SIM card and fill out their name and phone number on a special envelope, tearing off and keeping a numbered stub before placing the envelope in the drop box. Customers' names will be entered into a monthly raffle draw.
Qtel , with the support of the recycling service agency 'enviroserve', will make regular pick-ups of e-waste from Qtel 's collection sties. The e-waste will be collected in 20-foot containers and shipped to a facility in Singapore for systemic recycling. Qtel will soon launch monthly drop-off days for customers to dispose of larger electronic items such as old TVs and computers at designated locations.
Stuart Fleming, CEO, enviroserve, said a similar programme launched in UAE proved a great success. In a period of three years, enviroserve collected 600 tonnes of e-waste and 300,000 old mobile phones from the UAE. "Safe management of e-waste is one of the problems faced by the world. Studies have proved that the heavy metals in a phone are capable of contaminating 600,000 litres of water".
The cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in computer and television monitors contain lead - which is poisonous to the nervous system - as do circuit boards. Mercury - like lead - a neurotoxin, is used in flat-panel display screens. Some batteries and circuit boards contain cadmium, known to be a carcinogen.
When disposed in landfills, these products have the potential to contribute significant levels of toxic materials to the leachate produced in landfills. These include lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, cadmium, arsenic, zinc, chromium, and selenium.
The chlorinated plastic used in some electronics products and insulation on wires and cables also pollute soil, water and the food chain. With the amount of e-waste growing in exponential rates, most developed countries are now legislating on e-waste disposal and encouraging recycling and reuse of old electronic products.
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