The flow of outdated electronic products to Indonesia, including old cell phones, has not been stemmed despite a recent worldwide pledge to ban exports of toxic waste, according to activists.
On Friday, an agreement was brokered between Indonesia and Switzerland at the United Nations environmental conference, which was held in Cartagena in Colombia, in order to increase the adoption of a worldwide ban on the export of dangerous wastes such as old electronic equipment, to developing countries.
Dyah Paramita, who is an environmentalist and researcher who works at the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) is unimpressed however, claiming that the agreement will have little effect in Indonesia, with demand for old electronic equipment still high within the country. Paramita thinks the government needs to keep reminding the general public about the dangers that are posed by electronic waste. “In Indonesia, demand is still strong… this is where the danger lurks,” she claims. “The probability of suffering the hazardous effects is still high, as the materials and spare parts are frequently replaced by people using their bare hands and the unused spare parts are usually burned.”
The researcher adds that the government also needs to act to introduce stronger regulation on how industry manages its own electronic waste. “In European countries, industries already have their own facilities to deal with their e-waste as governments oblige them to do so,” Paramita notes. “In Indonesia, e-waste management is still voluntary.”