Assessment of the impacts of e-waste production in Kampala city, Uganda
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Growth in the use of electrical and electronic equipment increases of e-waste generation. Inadequate e-waste management procedures lead to severe environmental and health issues due to the hazardous chemicals associated with this category of waste. This research aims at quantifying e-waste according to international recognized e-waste categories I, II, III and IV, and estimating the four heavy metals (copper, lead, cadmium and mercury) contained in this kind of waste, as well as assessing the environmental impacts of the methods used to handle e-waste in Kampala City area. Primary data was collected using questionnaires and key informant interviews with concerned people in government, and non-government institutions involved in the use of electrical and electronic equipment, and e-waste management. More information on e-waste quantification, heavy metal quantification and environmental impacts of e-wastes, was obtained through review of relevant documents on e-waste management in Uganda and internationally. Results indicate that the total e-waste quantity in storage for all the four categories was 307.44tons. Category III had 144.54 tons, followed by Category IV (121.27 tons), Category I (29.30 tons) and Category II (12.33 tons). The 307.44 tons of e-waste contain 16.26 tons of copper, 1.309 tons of Lead, 0.049 tons of Cadmium and 0.0002 tons of Mercury. Environmental impacts of e-waste recycling were 196.4 kg CO2 eq for climate change, 72.7 kg oil eq for fossil depletion, 21.3 kg 1,4-DB eq for human toxicity and 12.3 m3 for water depletion. For e-waste landfilling, the impacts were 15.9 kg oil eq on fossil depletion and 12.7 kg CO2 eq on climate change. Electricity usage showed dominant contribution to the overall environmental burden in e-waste recycling, while diesel usage was dominant in e-waste landfilling. Although landfilling shows low environmental impacts, e-waste recycling is recommended because of environmental benefits associated with recovering valuable materials, and prevention of potential hazardous materials from being released to the environment.