NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – An environmental Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has gone to court to restrain the Jubilee government from issuing laptops to standard one pupils next year, citing health risks.
The Green Hand Organisation filed an urgent petition in the High Court protesting that if the programme was implemented, the right to a clean and healthy environment will be highly compromised.
The NGO contends that the influx of about one million laptops annually would trigger a tsunami of electronics wastes in the country.
“Sudden increase of laptops will result to massive importation of the devices spare parts and other related appliances which will, as a result, exacerbate the already deplorable state of the country’ s environment ,” the NGO argues.
The lobby contends that Kenya risks being the dumping ground for electronic waste from other nations if the programme is implemented hurriedly in blatant disregard of environmental concerns.
The NGO argues that components and raw materials used to manufacture such laptops contain large amounts of hazardous and toxic substances like lead, lead oxide, cadmium, mercury, polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBS) and Ruminated retardants (BFRs) that pose serious negative health consequences.
“The immediate implementation of the policy, will not only be unfair and unreasonable but against the legitimate expectations of the future and present generations to live in a clean and healthy environment,” the NGO asserts.
It further seeks the court to grant orders prohibiting and restraining the Principal Secretary of Finance and the Attorney General against procuring, importing and issuing the electronics until the issues contested are determined.
The NGO also wants the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources PS compelled to produce and make public a detailed report on the environmental and health risks posed by the implementation of the programme.
Further, the petitioner is seeking to compel the director general of the National Environment Management Agency to conduct civic education on the environmental and health risks posed by components used to manufacture laptops.
The jubilee government pledged to provide solar powered laptops to pupils who join standard one next year.