22 Jul 2019

Call for changes to tackle e-waste in Pacific

1:11 pm on 22 July 2019

Tackling e-waste in the Pacific requires changes to policy and infrastructure provisions by governments, a New Zealand recycler says.


E-waste Photo: Flickr public domain image

The director of New Zealand's Computer Recycling, Patrick Moynahan, said changes were critical not just for the preservation of the ecological beauty of the islands, but more importantly for the well-being of their people.

A rising volume of e-waste is being discarded including appliances such as TVs, computers, mobile phones and air-conditioners, Mr Moynahan said.

"These things have a commodity value. You can extract the gold and silver and palladium and ferris and non-ferrous metals. But a lot of people just categorise it as general waste. And it creates quite a bit of toxicity in the ground," he said.

Patrick Moynahan

Patrick Moynahan Photo: Supplied

"And there's poor awareness and infrastructure in some of these countries to effectively and efficiently deal with the waste electronics."

Mr Moynahan said the issue of e-waste had only reached the agenda of Pacific waste management agencies in the last five years or so.

Data collection, business engagement, improving legal frameworks and education on waste management are all part of the solution, he said.

Other examples of waste the Pacific struggles with include asbestos, healthcare waste, plastic and abandoned cars, Mr Moynahan said.