Recent statistics reveal that e-waste is one of the fastest rising waste streams in the world, as at 2006, the United Nations (UN) reported that an estimated 50million tons of e-wastes are produced yearly.
There are so many potentials inherent e-waste and its management, especially in a nation like Nigeria; but, with a country stuck in economic crisis, playing home to millions of people faced with numerous challenges, one fears that not many would have the knowledge of what e-waste is, neither would they understand why the management of e-waste is very essential at this very moment in our nation’s history.
What Is E-waste?
e-waste refers to ‘Electronic Waste’ which basically entails the discarding of electronic appliances such as mobile phones, computers, television sets, etc. A broader definition will include electronics which are destined for reuse, salvage, recycling and disposal.
What are the dangers of e-waste in Nigeria?
In a developing country like ours where due processes are often ignored and keen attention is barely paid to details, the informal processing of e-waste can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.
Harmful components such as mercury, sulfur, cadmium, beryllium, brominated flame and lead are found in electronic scraps and these components pose a very deadly threat to humans and the environment.
Technology has become the life force of our Society and as such, the demand for new appliances and gadgets continue to skyrocket, thus we are left to discard too many old appliances, thereby creating room for the stacking of an alarming quantity of e-wastes. These e-wastes often find their way into our water bodies, the ground water, soil and infiltrate the air, rendering it fatally unfit for humans, animals and crops.
Toxins, dioxins and other poisonous substances get into our system through these e-wastes, causing ill-health, and leading to the death of millions. Air pollution, fires, floods, loss of landscape, genetic contamination, soil erosion, oil spillage, global warming and other environmental impacts are not the only hazardous effects of e-waste; there are also socioeconomic impacts.
Mismanagement of e-waste could lead to lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment and violations of human rights. These in turn, increase corruption/co-optation of different stakeholders, alongside many other social problems. Also embedded in the mismanagement of e-waste is a very high security risk to individuals, organizations and even the government. Certain hard drives which are not properly disposed of can be reopened and the sensitive information within them could fall into wrong hands – fraudsters, militants and even terror organizations.
West Africa has been labeled a major dumping site for e-waste from diverse regions of the world. Nigeria alone generates about 1.1 million tons of e-waste annually. This stems from the continued purchasing and consumption of local and imported electronic and electrical equipment (EEE). Most of these EEEs are often mere gadgets that aren’t in working condition. Having established this, it is not out of place to say that in Africa and indeed around the world, Nigeria more than most other countries, is in grave danger of a disaster borne from the consumption of e-waste.
How Can We Tackle E-waste?
The only way to curb the devastating effects of e-waste in Nigeria is by proper and professional management.
It is true that the Nigerian government is aware of the dangers of e-waste, the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) was instituted to checkmate e-waste in Nigeria; however, this task cannot be solely left to the NSREA, the agency’s job is majorly to regulate, however, there is much more to be done.
E-waste management involves processing and recycling of waste, controlling of dumpsites, and effective management of toxic waste. It further boils down to consumer awareness. All these require a high level of skill and technical knowhow; experts are need for e-waste management to be successful.
Which Experts Can We Trust to Help Nigeria?
In Nigeria at present, there is no expert more trustworthy in e-waste management than E-Terra Technologies Ltd. This prime e-waste management company holds the very key to transforming e-waste management in the country. E-Terra has the potential and is already championing eco-friendly disposal of e-waste within West Africa.
In conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), E-Terra is currently collecting and disposing e-waste in the most eco-friendly manner. This pioneer e-waste management firm is also advancing the course of e-waste refurbishment, destruction of data-containing devices and I.T assist decommissioning.
E-Terra’s green electronic waste management solutions are world class and can be delivered all around Nigeria both on and off site.
What Value Can E-waste Management Add to Nigeria?
Emerging reports suggest that Nigeria’s used electronics refurbishing sector generates about $50.8million in a year. Sadly, this statistic is only for e-waste management in Lagos state alone, one can imagine what amount of revenue would be generated if other state governments and citizen of our country can partner with firms like E-Terra to engage in proper and professional e-waste management. If organised accordingly as it is being done in Lagos, e-waste management as handled by E-Terra can also create job opportunities for many who are without jobs to fend for themselves; the possibilities are endless, especially now that researchers have predicted that the value of e-waste will grow globally to over $4billion by 2020.
The Way Forward
The informal processing of e-waste could pose a grave danger to the existence of Nigeria as a whole, indeed, it does pose a big threat to the world in general. However, proper management of e-waste by a firm like E-Terra gives Nigeria a fighting chance against the devastating environmental, health and socioeconomic impacts of e-waste.
Citizens of this country ought to be informed about the dangers of e-waste, proper management of dumpsites is essential to the progress of e-waste disposal. Advanced systems of control should be employed in handling toxic waste and recycling processes should be carried out only by the experts, in line with the best practices available around the globe.
With a more conscious effort geared towards attaining international standards of e-waste management and disposal, we might indeed achieve a healthier Nigeria, one with more economic opportunities for national growth and enrichment of the citizens.