Dialling back on mobile phone waste

Thursday, 2 July 2015 00:31 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Dialog Axiata expands M-Waste collection centres to 145 covering all major cities

Sri Lanka’s mobile market leader, Dialog Axiata PLC, the pioneers in M-Waste collection is reminding the public to conserve the environment by discarding their redundant mobile devices at the 145 Dialog M-Waste collection centres located island-wide. 

President Maithripala Sirisena, who graced the national celebrations of the ‘World Environment Day 2015’ as the chief guest made a symbolic gesture by dropping off a discarded mobile device into an M-Collection Box at the Watadageya historical site in Madirigiriya, Polonnaruwa. 

With the rapid development of mobile telephony and the advent of the latest handsets and devices, users are constantly discarding their old mobile phones to upgrade to new models including smartphones and tablets. According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka 2013 Annual Report, over 20 million mobile phones were in use, equalling to an almost 100% penetration of the mobile market. It estimated that over 90% of the materials used in mobile devices and their accessories can be recovered and recycled to make new products, and every tonne of M-Waste recovered eliminates 10 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions required to mine and manufacture raw materials. 

Old phones that are thrown out often and not discarded properly end up in garbage dumps leaking heavy metal toxins such as Cadmium, Lithium, Lead, Nickel and Zinc to the earth have the possibility of contaminating ground water and the immediate natural surroundings.  Dialog Axiata PLC Group Corporate Office Head Michael de Soyza said, “Phones are not biodegradable and they contain some materials that can potentially harm the environment if not handled correctly at the end of a phone’s useful life. Hence the scientific disposal of such material is paramount to safeguard the sustainability of the environment.”

Sri Lanka’s first mobile phone accessories and handset take-back program initiated in 2007 by Dialog Axiata, aimed at reducing electronic or mobile waste (M-waste) with the endorsement and the guidance of the Central Environment Authority (CEA). The CEA endorses the project by inspecting the process of collection and shipping, continuously. All collected handsets and accessories are exported to recycling plant overseas for recycling in accordance with the Basel Convention for the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste material.

“Due to the exponential growth of mobile technology we are witnessing an unprecedented amount of M-Waste being collected at homes. The unsafe disposal of M-Waste poses a growing threat to the environment, due to some of the hazardous elements it contains; hence educating the public of the potential dangers of M-Waste is priority for us, and we appreciate the pioneering efforts of Dialog Axiata in containing this problem all across Sri Lanka,” CEA Waste Management Unit Director Ajith Weerasundara said.