Disposal of obsolete computers framework to reduce environmental effect of disposed computer materials in higher institutions of learning in Africa

  • Published June 3, 2016
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    Volume 7 2016, Issue #2, pp. 62-68
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    2 articles

Disposal of obsolete computers (DOC) in higher institutions in Africa poses a major environmental problem to many African people. The question of how to dispose obsolete computers and computer technologies in a safe manner has become a cause of concern to many African people, especially when toxic emissions pollute the air, water, and soil posing a serious health and environmental hazard to the community. This study investigates the methods of disposing and recycling of obsolete computers, and its environmental effect on plants and animals in Africa. A case study approach is used. Participants were selected from three African countries Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa based on their historical background in Africa regarding e-waste. Semi-structured, open ended interview questions were used to gather evidence from the participants regarding how obsolete computers are disposed from their institutions and the possible effect of the disposed computers on the environment. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded. The findings revel that the most common method of disposing obsolete computers is through dumping, dismantling of parts for resale by children and open field burning of unwanted parts. This burning process produces toxic material which is associated with high health risks. Based on the findings, a proposed Disposal of Obsolete Computers Framework (DOCF) was developed to guide higher institutions in Africa to opt for appropriate methods of disposing computers. The framework will not only assist higher institution in selecting a better option of disposing obsolete computers, but also will improve the hazardous environmental conditions which animals and plants find themselves

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