E- Waste Disposal in Tanzania: The Implications for Income Generation and Poverty Reduction
There is increasing deployment and use of ICT materials from developed countries by the developing countries. This has been the case given the acknowledged ICT potential for economic growth, income generation and hence reduction of poverty. Because of its fast growth, the ICT industry has generated volumes and volumes of ‘e - waste’, which in turn, requires mechanisms and skills for disposal, notwithstanding, the necessity to explore means of using the same as a business for income generation. The study set out to investigate the existing practices and levels of understanding with regard to the business potential that could be realized from the disposal process of ICT waste, through recycling, re-use, extraction of useful parts, reassembling and repair works resulting from the used e – waste products. The intention was to establish the level with which the process could be used as a source of income generation and hence reduction of poverty. The study used the Rapid Assessment Methodology (RAM) approach, which is reckoned for its multiplicity of methods and instruments in studying given phenomenon. Twenty four institutions (24) both public and private; and the Informal sector were surveyed; and a sample of seventy five (75) respondents was involved in the study. The scope of the study spanned to five administrative regions of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Morogoro, Mbeya and Mwanza, while the informal sector involved Gerezani, Kariakoo, Kinondoni, Msimbazi, Kigogo and Pugu – Kinyamwezi Dump. While from the institutions we involved managerial staff, ICT experts, Supplies officers, and environmentalists, in the Informal sector we involved computer vendors, refurbishers, recyclers, collectors and repairers. The study findings came to the conclusion that ICT waste had high economic and business potential, which could be harnessed to generate income, create employment and hence reduce poverty. The participants in the informal sector indicated that they had been able to generate income, pay school fees for their children and improve the standard of life. However, it was clear that there was no clear policy on the e – waste disposal, sufficient information about the process and skills for disposing the materials safely and avoid hazards. The study thus recommended for consumers’ awareness campaign, capacity building for vendors to improve recycling, reassembling and extraction skills. Moreover, the informal sector should be motivated to better exploit such opportunities for improved social economic conditions and reduction of poverty. The study recommends the need to put in place policies which will guide the disposal of e-waste in the country.