E-waste disposal in Kenya – a case of mobile phone waste disposal in Lang’ata Area, Nairobi, Kenya
There has been increased production and use of mobile phones globally, and in the African continent where they have been referred to as „The New Talking Drums of Africa‟. It is predicted that 90% of individuals aged 6 years and above will own a mobile phone by 2020. Meanwhile, Kenya has witnessed exponential growth in the use of these „Talking Drums‟, with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) reporting that the number of users had surpassed the 31 million mark by mid-2014, against a population of just over 40 million. The advancement of cellular technology has increased the rate of acquisition and replacements of mobile phones and related devices as consumers adapt to the new revelations. The increased use of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) has led to increased generation of wastes electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) with dead mobile phones and accessories adding to the growing pile. This study sought to establish the practise of e-waste disposal among consumers in Kenya by establishing the following: sources of mobile phone wastes among urban consumers, modes of disposal of e-wastes from mobile phones, awareness of safe measures and laws on e-waste disposal as well as the factors influencing mobile phones electronic waste production and management in Kenya. It focused on Lang‟ata Area of Kenya‟s capital, Nairobi, targeting consumers across the different socio-economic classes. The study employed a descriptive survey research design and obtained qualitative and quantitative data by use of a questionnaire administered to 385 respondents sampled using the estimating proportions method. The study established that there was no defined mode of electronic waste disposal and there existed low levels of e-waste disposal among consumers who mainly preferred to „give out‟ or hoard their waste mobile phones as opposed to recycling. Over 90% of the consumers expressed lack of awareness on the initiatives and laws on e-waste recycling. Left unattended, the future impact of electronic wastes may be dire, with adverse health and environmental implications. This study thus recommends promotion of recycling, introduction of extended producer responsibility and other legislation, and public-private partnerships as some of the initiatives in support of better electronic wastes management in Kenya.