1 Aug 2011

Tonga NGO acts to minimise electronic waste

1:41 pm on 1 August 2011

Tongans are being encouraged to get rid of unwanted electronic goods safely to protect the environment.

The Kingdom is preparing for a mass collection programme on the 6th of August.

The secretary of E-Waste Tonga, Leanne Elliott says collection points will be set up across all of Tonga's islands and she hopes schools, churches and families will bring their old and broken televisions, computers, cell phones and fridges.

She says at the moment old unwanted electronic goods are going into landfills, being dumped and sometimes even burned.

"We've been called out to sites where there's been a pile of computers literally on fire. And the fumes are overwhelming. And the toxic chemicals in there. People just really aren't aware of the potential hazards that are really involved in electronic waste and disposing of them like that. Which is why we're really pushing the awareness side of things so that people understand that there are things like mercury and arsenic in these electronics that really do need to be disposed of carefully."

Leanne Elliott says people will be paid five seniti per kilo for the e-waste which will be exported to New Zealand for recycling.