E-waste public awareness survey

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) together with the International Labour Organisation is conducting an online survey to better understand the awareness levels of South Africans on the area of electronic waste (e-waste). The short survey can be completed online and the closing date for the survey is Friday 22nd of November 2013.

The survey forms part of a larger study assessing the potential job creation opportunities in the e-waste sector in South Africa, with a focus on e-waste found in the automotive industry.  Lene Ecroignard who is involved with Research and Development as a consultant for eWASA states, “The survey results will be used to inform the report on the job creation potential in the e-waste sector,  as public awareness speaks to collection rates and the need for more awareness raising programmes.”

Ecroignard adds that in her opinion, many sustainable jobs can be created in the e-waste sector in South Africa and the study will help to quantify the potential. Commenting on the possible job opportunities, Ecroignard says, “e-waste  management in South Africa relies on manual dismantling which maximises material recovery and has the potential to create many jobs. In addition many informal waste pickers already work with e-waste. With the study we want to find a workable way to help make these jobs not only decent jobs but also sustainable jobs. Of course as collection rates grow, so will job opportunities.”

The last time a public sector survey was conducted on e-waste in South Africa was in 2008 and Ecroignard states that it will be interesting to determine whether public awareness on e-waste has increased, “To my knowledge public awareness of e-waste, its hazards and recovery possibilities are still low, with many people simply putting batteries, cartridges, etc in the trash. More valuable items are often kept in storage or taken for repair. However, this survey may disprove me and show that awareness has grown exponentially since 2008 when we last conducted such a survey.” The survey is targeted at all spheres of society and Ecroignard encourages all South Africans to complete the survey.

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Amanda Botes