UNIDO marks International E-waste Day across Latin America and the Caribbean

UNIDO marks International E-waste Day across Latin America and the Caribbean

VIENNA, 15 October 2021 - As record quantities of electronic waste continue to be generated globally, UNIDO has contributed to tackling the problem by developing a wide range of activities to celebrate International E-waste Day (IEWD) 2021 in 13 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the United Nations’ Global E-waste Monitor, over 50 million metric tons of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019. This figure is expected to climb to almost 75 million by 2030 and around 7% of this total is generated in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region.

Organized by the WEEE Forum, the fourth annual International E-waste Day focussed on the role of the consumer, while drawing attention to the various impacts of e-waste, from health to environmental concerns.

To celebrate the day, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)  organized a number of activities through its Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project on e-waste management in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region - PREAL.

In Costa Rica, a large number of events were coordinated by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with various partners, including a talk for the general public on ‘how to reduce the impact of the electrical equipment we use and the e-waste we generate’, organized by Red UNA STEM of the National University, Costa Rica. As well as this, an online event on ‘The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on E-waste in the first three-quarters of 2020’ was organized with representatives of Scycle United Nations University, the Ministry of Health, and the ASEGIRE business asscociation. A virtual map of Costa Rica showing e-waste collection points across the country has also been produced by the Ministry of Health, with support from the project and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications.

Online activities and the involvement of the academic sector were at the heart of contributions to International E-waste Day 2021. On 13 October, in Panama, a virtual discussion aimed at university students on ‘What is e-waste and how is it managed?’ was organized by the Ministry of Health. On the same day, in Guatemala, a workshop with the academic sector was held under the project on how to improve e-waste management, with a further workshop planned for 19 October.

Face-to-face events were also part of the programme this year. In Venezuela, key e-waste management processes (separation/classification) were demonstrated to the public by e-waste treatment companies in an event organized by the Ministry of Ecosocialism. In Peru, ‘Reciclafest’ kicked off a week-long e-waste collection campaign on 13 October, organized by the mobile phone company, CLARO, in collaboration with the District Municipality of La Victoria. Likewise, on October 14 in Peru, the Ministry of Environment presented the progress made in the framework of the implementation of the WEEE Special Regime. E-waste collection campaigns will also take place in Panama and Costa Rica (only 17.4 per cent of the e-waste generated globally in 2019 was collected and recycled).

The International Labour Organization (ILO) report on e-waste and decent work, produced under the project, was also presented at an event held on 14 October in Peru. Various materials related to this area of work were shared through the project to support the Day, including infographics on the national e-waste situation in Argentina, which are being promoted by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

The UNIDO LAC e-waste project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and assists 13 Latin-American countries with effective e-waste management through capacity building, awareness-raising and policy assistance. Under the project, an E-waste Academy for Managers (EWAM) on the ‘Challenges and Opportunities of E-waste Management in Latin America’ will be held on 21-22, and 27-29 October.

For further information, please contact:

Alfredo Cueva, Industrial Pollution Mitigation Division, Directorate of Environment and Energy, UNIDO.

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For more information and to sign up for the EWAM 2021, please click here.