CAN Infotech 2019
The 25th CAN Infotech 2019 is an annual event organized by the Federation of Computer Association Nepal (CAN Federation) which took place for six days from January 29th to February 3rd. This is the biggest tech festival of Nepal, where people have an opportunity to witness and showcase the latest technologies in computers, gadgets, mobiles, software, hardware, internet facilities, drones, and my personal favourite, robots. It also features a game parlour and food stalls for recreational purposes. Doko Recyclers was fortunate to have been supported by CAN Federation to showcase pioneering initiatives in e-waste management in collaboration with Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), Nepal Polymer Institute (NPI) and Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology (RECAST). Our main intention was to increase people’s awareness about the hazards of careless handling and disposal of electronic waste or e-waste in short.
An estimated 400,000 people paid a visit. Four-hundred-thousand. I’m not a maths expert but I know that’s a huge number even by Kathmandu standards. Now let’s assume at least half of these people came to CAN Infotech to upgrade their computers, phones or laptops, that’s 200,000 people. So let’s consider for a second: what happens to all the electronics they are replacing? Think about your old computer, the one that weighs ten kgs, where is it now? What about your first phone, probably a Moto Razr or a Nokia flip phone, where did that go? You may not realize it, but they’re probably in a landfill, buried deep underground with everyone else’s e-waste.
This is the hard truth we wanted to impart to folks at CAN Infotech. Yes, it’s fun to look at the latest laptops and computers, but it’s also important to know what happens once they have run their course. The average Nepali person is not aware about e-waste, let alone its hazards and proper disposal procedure. It is unfortunate that 80 percent of all visitors at CAN Infotech were in the dark about e-waste. It’s all the more disappointing that we at Doko currently only receive less than one percent of total e-waste generated in Kathmandu to be recycled or disposed off responsibly which means 99 percent of e-waste still ends up in landfills.
Here’s the positive: the excitement and sense of urgency felt at CAN Infotech, after we educated attendees about e-waste, restored our faith in the future of e-waste management in Nepal. People were eager to set up e-waste collection stations in their own hometowns and work cities. More than 500 people offered to drop off their old gadgets to our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) located in Sanothimi the very next day. All in all, more than 6000 people left our stall with a little more knowledge about e-waste and a lot more passion to do something about it. CAN Infotech showcased the best technology in Nepal, and we want to work hand-in-hand with technical companies and corporations to promote responsible handling of the waste this massive industry generates for a sustainable, clean and safe future.
Stuti Sharma, Communications Associate