Efforts to push for a greener technology in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) got a boost as environment as well as information and communications technology (ICT) leaders from member-countries agreed to establish an electronic waste (e-waste) facility within the sub-region.
This new commitment was forged through the BIMP-EAGA Environment Cluster, after the group?s participation in a seminar on e-waste management and green ICT and field visits to e-waste facilities in Beijing and Guandong province in China recently.
?The initial goal is to establish an e-waste facility for the EAGA region and China?s interest in providing us technical assistance will help pave the way for the implementation of this project,? said Ernie Tomas of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) who participated in the seminar, organized by China?s Ministry of Commerce.
?Our visit to China reinforced our resolve to identify green technology projects and actively push for the development of sustainable green technologies within the BIMP-EAGA region,? said Tomas.
E-wastes or waste electrical and electronic equipment pose serious health and pollution problems due to their high content of metallic and combustible contaminants.
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) around 50-80 percent of the e-waste collected from industrialized countries end up in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Africa, Philippines, and even China.
Even in highly developed countries, the recycling and disposal of e-wastes is seen to involve significant risks to workers and communities, which requires utmost care to avoid hazardous exposure during recycling operations.
?We tend to change electronic gadgets and appliances more frequently now and most of us are not aware that improper disposal of these wastes can cause hazardous impact to our environment,? Tomas explained.
He admitted that EAGA member-countries need a lot of catching up in terms of achieving a sustainably green ICT, but the establishment of an e-waste facility is a good start in trying to achieve this goal.
?More than the exposure to China?s biggest e-waste facilities, what we really appreciated from the visit is the dedication of big nations like China to further develop green technology,? Tomas said.
In a statement, the ICT cluster announced that the anticipated collaboration with China has also opened up and expanded opportunities for economic and trade cooperation within the EAGA and Asean region as a whole.
The trip to China was also participated in by national focal persons for BIMP-EAGA which include Undersecretary Jim Sampulna of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Dir. Edgardo Celorico of National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). MinDA serves as the Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA.