HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: While countries abroad have special provisions to donate, recycle and dispose old gadgets, Nepal is yet to come up with a specific system for the same. At present, most old cell phones end up at repairing centres as training resources.
Navin KC, owner of N2 Mobile Service Plaza at Bishal Bazar, informs, “Customers often leave their old mobiles with us, and once we have a collection of around 10 to 15 such totally useless handsets, we transfer them outside the valley. They are required by mobile repairing centres to help train those who are interested in entering the profession and need old mobiles to practice upon.” According to KC, they mostly buy old Samsung
and Nokia handsets from customers at prices starting from Rs 200. He adds,
“Although rag pickers offer us money in return for gadgets, we do not sell them as we feel they are better utilised as resources to train. As we cannot experiment with new gadgets, these are excellent for practicing.” The lack of a specific agency to take care of old gadgets is hampering their disposal. “In Nepal, there are no organisations solely
dedicated to recycle mobiles, computers, laptops and other electronic app-liances. These are common in the West, and they help in protecting the environment from toxins,” says Aviskar Shrestha, vice president of Nepal Mobile Business Organisation.According to Shrestha, most gadget users prefer to sell their old devices to rag pickers or dump them in dustbins rather than donating them to the needy or selling at stores for a bargain price. He says, “The best way to treat old gadgets, if they are still in working condition, is to gift them to the less privileged. Very few consumers are aware that dumping gadgets
haphazardly is a major cause of environmental degradation. If there is no option, it is better to leave them at repairing centres, as it serves a dual purpose of eco-friendliness and employment generation.” Manoj Tamang, tech-nician at C-Link Mobile Care (CLMC) at Pako, New Road, says, “Earlier, simpler phones only had minor glitches which could be solved at nominal prices. But these days, along with the advent of touch screen and advanced phones, there is a rise in the number of
problems too. It might cost up to Rs 3,500 to fix a phone.” According to Tamang, even if their phones are useless, customers take them back and only around one per cent leave it at the store. Among those discarded phones, he uses the switch for other purposes before relegating the handsets to trash cans. Shrestha adds, “Although some cell phone repairing centres keep the phones for their own purposes, most of them hesitate to do so as the owner may have used the device for illegal purposes as well.” According to him, it is high time to practice sustained reuse of gadgets, which helps customers to de-
clutter their home and protect the environment.The general public is also at a loss of what to do with old gadgets. Ruchika Thapa, a regular user of Samsung products, says, “I am
currently using my third Samsung phone and have the two previous phones with me as well. Although I’d like to discard them responsibly, I haven’t heard of any organisation that provides gadget recycling facility or donates them to technology-deprived people.” According to her, she would love to hand it over to an authorised agency if it exists.
With people changing their gadgets frequently, it is high time that an agency took charge of dis-posing them without any negative cons-equences.