Federica Malesardi, Camara’s Operations Manager in Zambia, embarked on a 700km round-trip last week to collect some E-Waste from a school in the Copperbelt. She sent us this short blog recounting the journey.
I went to the Copperbelt from Monday 16th to Friday 20th February with Francis Chupi (Technical Officer) and Moira Mandumbwa (Sales & Marketing Officer) for the E-Waste programme and some school visits. The Copperbelt is a region in the North of Zambia, close to the border with DR Congo. We have a container for E-waste in Kitwe at the Copperbelt College of Education (formerly KTC and also our former hub when Camara Zambia was based in Kitwe).Kitwe is 353km from Lusaka, so it takes 6 hours* to drive there.
We passed a lot of trucks and heavy machinery along the way because, as the name suggests, the Copperbelt is home to the copper mines. We brought some discarded computers from Lusaka, and collected 15 more – all with CRT monitors – from Ndeke Basic School in Kitwe. Our policy for E-Waste is that for every 10 computers we receive back for E-Waste, the school will receive a new one with an LCD monitor. In total we had 40 computers (Cpu) for E-Waste and 15 CRT monitors.
The container in Kitwe is now full and we will ship it to South Africa to a company called DESCO (http://ewaste.desco.co.za/). They are buying all of our obsolete equipment and recycling it all according to Camara standards and requirements.
The main problem that we faced in the Copperbelt is that schools are very reluctant to give us the computers that are not working. They have bought the machines and even if they are not working they want to keep them! However, they will soon be replaced with better machines which will massively benefit the students.
The journey to and from the Copperbelt was long, but very important. E-Waste is a huge problem in Africa, particularly west Africa, so there is an onus on us all to ensure that it is disposed of correctly.
* To put this in context, Dublin to Dingle is a similar distance (343km), yet would take 2 hours less to drive. This is an indication of the difficulty of travelling long distances, and also demonstrates the huge commitment of Camara’s staff.