Abidjan, 24 September 2020: A new project, funded by the GEF and implemented by UNIDO, addressing the issue of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) stemming from e-waste and end-of-life vehicles has been launched in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The West African country is confronted with more than 90,000 tons of POPs containing waste each year. The World Resources Forum (WRF) has been assigned by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to provide its expertise towards a successful project execution.
The launch workshop was held in the presence of high-level stakeholders, such as representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), UN organizations and the private sector. The participation of the international executing partners, such as WRF, was ensured through video conference call facilities.
The project’s main objective is to provide specific solutions for the sustainable management of e-waste and end-of-life vehicles in Côte d’Ivoire. Addressing more than 90,000 tons of POP containing waste materials, the project is expected to, amongst others, prevent the open burning of 130 tons of plastics and avoid the emission of 13 metric tons of toxic substances, such as brominated flame retardants. “Open burning of waste became a major concern for public health and the environment in Côte d’Ivoire and as such this project starts just in time”, explains the focal point of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and national coordinator of the project, Prof. Gustave Bédi:
“Open burning is done without knowing that these waste materials contain persistent organic pollutants. Their open burning then emits silent and invisible killers, known as dioxins and furans, into the air.”
The project’s goals shall be achieved through a coordinated intervention, aimed at strengthening the country’s legal and institutional framework, adding eco-technological value to the e-waste and end-of-life vehicle recycling sector and creating business and investment opportunities in the sector. The project is divided in the following components:
- Legal framework and institutional capacity
- Upgrading technical capacity for the sound management of brominated flame retardants and reduced unintentional emissions of POPs
- Establishment of business activities based on sound management of plastics
The WRF, together with specialized partners, such as the Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), will support their Ivorian partners in stepping up their capacities to collect and analyze POPs in waste and environmental samples through assistance in large scale sampling campaigns and technical laboratory training. WRF will support the project through technology and business expertise towards best practices for the environmentally sound management of the plastics fractions of e-waste and ELV. This will require a market analysis for recycled plastics and the identification of both potential business models and investors. Activities will give a special focus on fostering female entrepreneurship in the sector. Furthermore, WRF will provide technical contributions to the development of the technical guidelines for the sustainable management of waste electrical and electronic equipment and end of life vehicles.
The project “sustainable management of unintentional persistent organic pollutants (UPOPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) to reduce their emissions from the industrial waste sector” is funded through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Trust Fund, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and executed by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and WRF.