The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday organised a sensitisation forum here for key trade associations about the collection of advance eco-levy on electrical, electronic items (e-waste) and tyres.
The Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act (Act 917) passed in 2016, among others provide for the collection of eco-levy to manage electrical and electronics waste when they reach their end of life by recycling such items in an environmentally sound manner.
Sources of e-waste includes Information Technology equipment such as computers, laptops, networking devices, cables, power adapters; household appliances like televisions, telephones, mobile phones, calculators, fridges, air conditioners, washing machines, microwaves and gaming consoles.
E-waste have damaging effects on the environment and on human health. They are known to cause inflammation and oxidative stress, precursors to cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and possibly cancer.
The collection of the levy started on November 1, 2018 but the EPA in June this year introduced some improvements to address challenges encountered.
The forum was used to educate participants on the new ways of processing declarations involving electrical, electronic items and tyres.
In attendance were members of Ghana Union of Traders Association, SGS, Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet) and Ghana Federation of Freight Forwarders.
In an address, a Principal Programme Officer of EPA, Larry Kotoe, said the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act aims to prevent Ghana from being used as a dumping ground for e-waste.
He stated that the improved system for the collection of the eco-levy allowed the processing of the levy for new electronic and electrical products to be done on the GCNet EMDA portal (electronic Ministry, Department and Agency) while the SGS portal is used to process eco-levy for both used and new electronic products.
The Principal Programme Officer, however, indicated that used electronic products would be subjected to physical inspection in the country of origin before they were shipped to Ghana to prevent waste items from reaching our ports.
Mr Kotoe explained that the regulation and eco-levy were designed to control the e-waste situation like what pertains in Agbogbloshie and other sites across the country.
He was grateful for the ongoing construction of a recycling plant at Agbogbloshie to effectively deal with the situation.
A Principal Programme Officer at EPA, Lovelace Sarpong, said the new system of collection incorporated suggestions gathered during engagements with stakeholders, and therefore called on all to support its successful roll out.
The Executive Secretary of Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asaki Awingobit, who was pleased with improvement made in the system, hoped that its implementation would not cause delays in the clearance of goods at the ports.
A Deputy Tradenet Manager of GCNet, Anthony Nkansah, said: “Importers using the EMDA portal must apply for e-waste permit through that system, they then effect payment at the bank after which the permit is automatically approved. During declaration processing, the valid permit number will be checked at the item level.”
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA