Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a category of waste that raises a double issue: rapid growth, as well as significant management constraints due to certain toxic components it contains. Important ecological and health issues are indeed associated with it: harmful substances for the ozone layer, heavy metals (lead, mercury), persistent organic pollutants, greenhouse gases.
Developing countries are particularly exposed to the problem of WEEE: their rapid economic and demographic growth, as well as the social and cultural changes caused by development, lead to a steep increase in the waste-flow. At the same time, these countries do not yet have the infrastructure, technologies and collection systems to capture this flow and process it properly.
In Cameroon, however, the government – through the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED) – has been proactive, with specific regulations in place since 2012. 2012 was also the year during which the associations Solidarité Technologique and La Guilde launched a pilot initiative in the treatment of computer-related WEEE in Yaoundé. The present project constitutes both continuity and substantial development of this initial association. The success of it could serve as an example to follow in Africa and in most developing countries.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
The objective of the WEEECAM project is to implement in Cameroon a sustainable and reproductible activity for the collection and treatment of WEEE in large urban areas through 4 components :
- The installation of a large-scale WEEE collection system in the cities of Douala and Yaoundé;
- The implementation of a large-scale WEEE treatment system, optimising its environmental impact, economically and socially sustainable;
- Strengthening the existing institutional framework, while contributing to the structuring of this sector of activity;
- Valuing and capitalizing on the project’s experience to facilitate its replication and improve the chances of success of other initiatives in developing countries.
The WEEECAM project has an ambitious programme that fits into a broader strategy for sustainable development: economic and financial, social and cultural aspects, and environmental preservation are considered at the same time.
The project, at its full maturity at the end of year 5, will provide 157 full-time jobs for 157 people. Partnerships will have been established with various local actors who will ensure the collection of WEEE, in a thoughtful and constructive collaboration with the informal sector. The success of the project will mean the validation of a model that can be transposed to other countries, particularly in Africa where such an activity doesn’t currently exist.
The creation of the activity in the form of a company, which will generate profits towards the end of the project, is the best guarantee of its sustainability. During its implementation, La Guilde Européenne du Raid and Solidarité Technologique will consider two scenarios for retrocession: transformation into a local structure of the SSE type (Social and Solidarity Economy) or the creation of a conventional company with shared equity investments between private investors and local public institutions.
Finally, the WEEECAM project will have a major impact on the local and global environment. It will enable the collection and treatment of potentially hazardous waste streams, thus avoiding the dispersion of pollutants: toxic compounds dangerous for the ozone layer and global warming. It will also have an innovative dimension and experiment the creation and resale of carbon credits linked to a WEEE management activity.
COST AND DURATION
The WEEECAM project will last five (05) years in two distinct phases :
Phase 1 has started and runs from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020.
Phase 2 will last from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022. Its total budget is EUR 6 000 000, of which EUR 3,6 million (60%) has been raised to date.