Manama: Qatar is drafting a law on the safe management of the country’s fast accumulating stock of hazardous electronic waste (e-waste).
The law, the first of its kind in the region, is expected to be issued within three months and will include specific directives to dealers in electronic goods and stipulations for customers on how to manage old and defunct electronic gadgets, an environment ministry official has said.
"The ministry is in the preliminary stage of drafting the law. We will put in all the ideas required for bringing down the country’s e-waste to the zero level. Qatar would be the first country in the region to come out with a law to manage e-waste”, Rashid Al Kuwari, from the environment ministry, said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.
As a precursor to the Ministry of Environment’s ambitious plans to cut the country’s carbon footprint, Qatar Telecom (Qtel) on Monday launched Qatar’s first e-waste recycling programme, which would ensure the safe and secure disposal of mobile phones and other electronic equipment.
“Working under the Ministry of Environment, we have developed a programme that would allow people to safely dispose potentially hazardous e-waste, Adel Al Mutawa, Executive Director, Group Communications, Qtel, said. “From today, all Qtel shops throughout Qatar will feature a ‘drop box’ disposal area that serves as the designated drop-off site for e-waste items like mobile phones and laptops, which contain heavy metals that can harm the environment," he said.
Qtel, with the support of the recycling service agency ‘enviroserve’, will make regular pick-ups of e-waste from Qtel’s collection sites. The e-waste will be collected in 20-foot containers and shipped to a facility in Singapore for systemic recycling.
Monthly drop-off days for customers to dispose of larger electronic items such as old TVs and computers at designated locations will also be launched by Qtel.
Stuart Fleming, CEO, enviroserve, said a similar programme launched in UAE proved a great success. In a period of three years, enviroserve collected 600 tonnes of e-waste and 300,000 old mobile phones from the UAE.
“Safe management of e-waste is one of the problems faced by the world. Studies have proved that the heavy metals in a phone are capable of contaminating 600,000 litres of water,” he said, according to the Qatari daily.