The management of electronic waste : a case study of the Umbogintwini Industrial Complex and Southgate Business Park in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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The phenomenal growth in the number of electronic devices in use has given rise to a huge increase in the volume of electronic waste (e-waste) generated. Electronic waste is comprised of toxic materials and chemicals, and if it is not disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, it poses serious risk to the environment and to human health. The perceived limited knowledge about the harmful effects of e-waste and the potential economic benefit of e-waste recycling in South Africa motivated this study. The study area consisted of two large industrial parks in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal; namely, the Umbogintwini Industrial Complex and the adjacent Southgate Business Park. A total of 313 organisations are located within the study area, which is spread over approximately 550 hectares. Based on the findings of the study, it is estimated that the Umbogintwini Industrial Complex and the Southgate Business Park would generate approximately 593 tons of e-waste between the period 2015 and 2020, averaging approximately 119 tons per year. Although South Africa is classified as a developing country, it is the most developed country in Africa, and if one were to extrapolate the potential volume of e-waste generated for five years from the study area to the rest of KwaZulu-Natal’s industrial parks, then in five years, the province’s industrial parks would generate approximately 3 340 tons of e-waste. The study also revealed that there is no effective e-waste management strategy in place within the Umbogintwini Industrial Complex or the Southgate Business Park. A positive finding of the study was that the majority of the organisations surveyed were in favour of a proper e-waste management strategy at both the study sites, and would support the development of an e-waste recycling plant in this industrial zone.