E-waste management framework for Kenyan universities

Author: Itere, Benson Maina

Awarding University: University of Nairobi, Kenya

Level : MSc

Year: 2012

Holding Libraries: University of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library ;

Subject Terms: Electronics/Waste disposal/Hazardous substances/Colleges and universities ;

Pages: 99

Advisors: Samuel Ruhiu


Electricals and electronic industry is one of the fastest growing industries which is largely due to technological advancement. This has resulted to computers and other related equipment becoming obsolete with a very short period of just few years. According to Rachna (2008) the rise of information society, increased affordability of new product and technological achievements which make it easy to purchase a new electronic equipment rather than repairing or upgrading old products, have all led to increase in the amount of e-waste materials produced. The biggest concern with e-waste materials is the presence of toxic materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, PVC containing plastics, printer cartridge inks and toners that pose significant health and environmental risks when end-of-life equipment are disposed of. Most of the Universities in the country do not have an e-waste management guideline despite being among the highest consumers of electrical and electronic equipment. In carrying out the study, the researcher studied both public and private Universities that are within the Nairobi environs. For every University, two categories of questionnaires were administered; one to the head ofICT and the other for the general staff. The study established that, the amount of e-waste generated by Kenya Universities is increasing at a rate of more than 100% per annum due to the continued increase in the use of computers and other related equipment. However, about 40% of the e-waste generated remains in stores for years before disposal due to lack of proper e-waste management systems. It was also revealed that, sale of e-waste material as second hand to individuals and other organizations was the most preferred disposal pathway followed by donation to other needy organizations. Conclusively, we recommended that, both the Universities and electronic and electrical equipment suppliers to create more awareness and disseminate information on the dangers associated with improper handling of e-waste materials and on the available disposal options. Another recommendation we made was on the Universities to establish more collaborations, alliances and partnerships with other stakeholders to facilitate and allow knowledge and ideas to be shared in order to ensure that, the more appropriate decisions are being made when managing e-waste materials.