In Nigeria today, there are millions who have never heard about e-waste and the health risks that poor e-waste management poses.
There are also millions that have heard about e-waste only in passing and do not know the intricate details of what e-waste management entails.
It is this lack of proper information that has seen to the threatening rise of e-waste in Nigeria, Africa and even the world at large.
E-waste is a short form for electronic waste, it is a term for electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working or obsolete, and have essentially reached the end of their useful life.
The effects of improper disposal of this e-waste on the environment are little known to many, however, these impacts pose very real threats and dangers to the global environment at large.
Improper disposal of these electronic wastes affect the soil, air, and water components of the environment.
There are many more facts that everyone needs to know about electronic waste. Here below are top 8 facts that will really blow your mind as regards e-waste worldwide.
1. Discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, fax machines) mice, keyboards, and cell phones totalled about 2.37 million short tons in 2009 alone.
2. About 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.
3. E-wastes such as cell phones and other electronic items contain high amounts of precious metals like gold or silver. In America alone, phones containing over $60 million in gold/silver are dumped yearly.
4. What many people look at as “e-waste” is actually not ordinary waste as they see it, but rather, they are whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery.
5. Currently, only about 29% of e-waste is recycled globally.
6. For every 1 million cell phones that are recycled, 35,274 lbs of copper, 772 lbs of silver, 75 lbs of gold, and 33 lbs of palladium can be recovered.
7. Recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year.
8. It takes 530 lbs of fossil fuel, 48 lbs of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor.
As with the trends around the world, Nigeria and West Africa is facing a critical e-waste threat, in that the region and the country is currently becoming a dumping ground for e-waste. However, there are solutions to the problems currently being faced.
It all begins by a conscious effort on the part of the government and its agencies to ensure that the people are very aware of the dangers posed by e-waste. Actions should also be taken to ensure that the e-waste withing the country and within the West African region are handled by professionals.
Recycling is key to so many problems posed by e-waste, and there is a lot that can be generated if we recycle our e-waste properly. There are firms that are already into the business of turning what many will call mere trash into good cash.
Qualitative e-waste management involves ensuring our environment is not polluted by electronic waste, it further entails the transformation of e-waste into quality products. By proper handling of e-waste we will be saving the earth and making it a better place for our existence.