It is important to erase the data from the device before you throw it away, because those pictures and content could be misused.

A Dubai school has launched an e-waste collection drive in cooperation with the Dubai Municipality (DM), and it is urging people to dispose of their electronic devices only in e-waste bins.

Teachers and students of The Kindergarten Starters (KGS), Al Garhoud, introduced the drive during their school assembly on Tuesday, in the presence of Sadin Al Falasi, head of the treatment systems unit at the DM, and Youssef Chehade, director of e-waste management firm Ecyclex.

Throughout the month-long campaign, e-waste bins will be placed in the school’s premises and students will get to learn more about e-waste. Experts and companies will also be holding talks to raise awareness.

The school has also given a shout-out to all UAE residents through its social media pages to collect e-waste from their homes, offices and neighbourhood and drop it off at the bins in the school.

“Children’s idea of e-waste is usually limited to that of a phone or a laptop, but the Ecyclex team today explained to them that it could range from electronic appliances, monitors, LCDs and TVs, to headphones, speakers, batteries etc. Many would be just tossing them out in regular waste bins, but through this campaign we are all learning about the harmful effects it can have if not disposed of appropriately,” said KGS principal Asha Alexander.

“Being a digital school, we are teaching our students to be more responsible and dispose of these gadgets responsibly as some of those metals and radiations can be harmful for their health and of those around.”

Besides explaining the health hazards, Alexander also pointed out that the responsible disposal of gadgets is also important in protecting people’s digital data.

“It is important to erase the data from the device before you throw it away, because those pictures and content could be misused. That is why it is important to go through an authorised e-waste recycling company,” she said.

Promoting the drive, Al Falasi said: “For the DM, creating awareness is extremely important, as we are now focusing on our goal of reducing all types of waste in landfills by 75 per cent by 2021. “Inculcating these habits in kids is the best way to spread the message in the community.”

The KGS is encouraging its students to collect e-waste “creatively” and involve their family and friends. “They could make YouTube videos, upload stuff on social media, or if they are having a party at home, they could tell their guests to bring one e-waste item they want to dispose of. We believe that such small gestures can bring about a big change,” said Radha Madhukar, KG supervisor.

Grade 4 student Shanelle Ashlynn said: “E-waste contains some very harmful elements, such as bromine and mercury, which can have harmful effects not only to us but also to our surroundings, including plants and animals.

“The cat of one of my relatives consumed a small, empty watch battery that was kept on the counter, and the whole process of taking the cat to the vet and treating him was very painful. I wish they had just discarded the battery the right way.”

Congratulating the school, Chehade said: “The participation from these tiny tots was overwhelming. It was good to see that children, even from KG classes, were able to understand the meaning of the term ‘e-waste’.”

Items considered as e-waste

Batteries, Phones, Laptops, Monitors, Headphones, Speakers, Other electronic devices, appliances

Source: Khaleej Times