GEMS schools say no to e-waste

GEMS Education is spearheading an e-waste collection campaign in 16 of its schools to mark World Environment Day. GEMS has partnered with Dubai based company, Enviroserve.

Each of the participating schools have collected hundreds of used electronic items including: computers, laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras, printers, scanners through their collection centres in the school campus.

Enviroserve, which specialises in e-waste management solutions, will recondition, where possible, the collected electronic items or send them to accredited refineries overseas. The three schools that collect the largest amount of e-waste will receive prizes and a recognition plaque from Enviroserve.

Uzma Nawaz, a Grade 10 student and a member of the Conservation Club at the Dubai American Academy says, “We are very excited to be part of this campaign as it is a great opportunity for students and our families to properly dispose of e-waste that we otherwise keep at home. There has been an overwhelming response from the student community as everyone has dug deep into their closets and collected old mobile phones, cameras and other electronic gadgets.”

Research indicates that e-waste is growing at three times the rate of other municipal waste. According to a report by the International Association of Electronics Recyclers, only five per cent of the generated e-waste is recycled in the Middle East.

Servee Palmans, Director: School Operations at GEMS Education says, “As the world’s largest K-12 education company, we believe we have a responsibility to encourage and motivate the younger generation to lead the way in finding sustainable solutions for preserving the environment. Today, inappropriate disposal of electronic waste is a chronic threat for our environment and can harm the planet for generations to come. Through the e-waste collection campaign, our objective is to build awareness among our students and parents about the hazards of e-waste, and encourage them to dispose of it responsibly.”

There is an urgent need to manage e-waste more responsibly as the global volume of e-waste is estimated to reach 73 million metric tonnes by 2015 as more and more used TVs, fridges, microwaves, printer toners and cartridges, mobile phones and computers are dumped by consumers without any thought of recycling them.

Zornitza Hadjitodorova, divison manager of E-waste at Enviroserve adds that this is the first green school campaign of such magnitude in the Middle East. “As the largest private school operator in the world, GEMS Education is taking the lead in actively engaging children in such environment-friendly initiatives, and we are proud to assist GEMS in this mission as it very much compliments Enviroserve’s policies on sustainability and waste reduction.”