May 9, 2015 | News, News Releases

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) are working together to limit the potential environmental risks to Caribbean countries as broadcasters plan and implement the move from analogue to digital systems.

Today the Head of the ITU’s Caribbean Office, Mr Cleveland Thomas and CBU Secretary General, Ms. Sonia Gill announced the launch of the E-Waste Project. Funded by the ITU, the project focusses on providing governments and regulators with up-to-date, relevant policies and laws to manage the disposal or re-use of ICT equipment during the digital transition process.

The project will formulate model policies and laws in the areas of environmental standards, electronic waste management and re-cycling of televisions, mobile phones and computers. The model policies will also include anti-dumping regulations for televisions that do not conform to regional requirements and international standards.

As the Caribbean joins the rest of the world in digital switch-over (DSO) the CBU has called on the region’s governments to address the major financial, social and environmental implications of the major change.

Among the environmental risks both the CBU and ITU have identified are dumping of discarded and or cheap consumer equipment from other countries, where the equipment doesn’t conform to the digital standards chosen by Caribbean countries, resulting in the creation of an “analogue wasteland” from the unregulated discarding of ICT equipment.

Head of the ITU’s Caribbean Office, Mr Cleveland Thomas said, “…there have been alarming reports of e-waste mismanagement in many countries particularly in less developed countries. However this project will help to equip regional governments with the tools to avoid these experiences, which can have a major negative impact in small, developing states like those found in the Caribbean.”

The proliferation of ICT equipment, while having many positive effects and, empowering and liberating people to communicate and providing them with access to information, is also having negative environmental and health effects associated with inefficient management of e-waste. The prospect of wanton disposal and abandonment of computer motherboards, computer monitors and hard drives littering the landscape, contaminating the soil and water with high concentrations of lead, mercury, thallium, hydrogen cyanide and polyvinyl chloride is indeed an avoidable scenario for Caribbean Islands with their fragile ecosystems and biodiversity. An effective e waste ecosystem must stand the scrutiny of environment, health and safety standards.

About the CBU

The CBU is a grouping of forty-six (46) media entities including broadcasters in the English, Dutch and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. The Union’s mandate includes facilitating indigenous programme production and sharing; capacity-building of media institutions and professionals; joint negotiation of rights for programming; and advocacy in regional and international forums on policy and technology issues.

In 2015 the CBU celebrates forty-five (45) years of service to the media and Caribbean development, since its establishment in November 1970 in Georgetown, Guyana.

About the ITU

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For 150 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.

2015 marks ITU’s 150th anniversary. On 17 May 2015 ITU will be celebrating 150 years since the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telegraph Union in 1865. 2015 will be a commemoration year that we wish to celebrate with all our members – including governments, private companies, and other stakeholders.


For further information:

CBU – or 1(246) 430-1007