Dispelling common misconceptions to improve policy outlook in developing countries
There is no question that the proliferation of electronic and electrical equipment, which
animates the information and communications technology (or technologies) revolution
were always going to kick up some dust. Not least because the infrastructure needed to
manage the end-of-life products are non-existent. Consequently, the large quantities of
used electrical and electronic devices such as personal computers, mobile telephones and
entertainment electronics that are disposed of are growing rapidly. This development has
consigned the e-waste industry to a landmine of myths, incorrect assumptions and half
truths, ranging from those rooted in a misreading of the informal activity to the truly
bizarre. This editorial piece highlights some commonly held myths about the e-waste
management practices in Ghana that are perpetuated by different stakeholders and
actors in the sector for different reasons. The paper cautions that only an unbiased, indepth understanding of the complexities and multidimensional nature of the e-waste
industry among the various stakeholders – public officials, informal operators and nongovernmental organisations can generate a mutually beneficial governance framework.
• Misconceptions perpetuate myths that feed perceptions about the e-waste
• Myths can misguide policy response to e-waste management.
• Myths narrow the scope of e-waste discussions to an environmental niche.
• Debunking myths is necessary to formulate a holistic policy response.