By Funke Busari
Mr. Ifeanyi Ochonogor, chief executive officer, E-Terra Technologies, has advocated proper waste recycling management as a way of repositioning Lagos to meet the Smart City Status it is aiming.
Ochonogor, as one of the keynote speakers at the annual conference of the Science Association Of Nigeria, SAN, spoke from the perspective of the theme: “Science And Technology In An Emerging Smart City And Sustainable Developments.”
In his presentation, he explained that technology devices like computers, printers, mobile phones and more have significantly transformed the world, our lives and the way we do business, saying that unfortunately that as these devices reach their end- of-life or become obsolete or unwanted due to advancement in technology and changes in consumer behaviour that they would become “e-waste.”
E-waste, according to him, is an acronym for electronic waste.
He stated that sources of e-waste include, home and office appliances, small appliances, telecom, medical & lighting equipment, monitor & control systems and more.
He warned that two major needs emerge when electronics reach their end of life and become e-waste, and the challenges are eco-friendly disposal and data security, and assured that E-terra was established to satisfy the needs.
Enumerating the threats which e-waste poses to the people and their businesses, he said most businesses and government institutions are loose, thereby making them very vulnerable to privacy and intellectual property theft with potential dangerous consequences.
He mentioned that, according to United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, that over 70% of most electronic waste are stored at homes and offices ignorant of the toxicity of such items and its health hazard. He added that “Disposal of unwanted I.T Assets are still executed majorly through auction with little interest on where these assets ends up, including the negative impacts associated with unprofessional e-waste handling on man and the environment.”
He cited a publication in Guardian, 2015, where he said the newspaper revealed that about 200,000 cancer cases are being diagnosed every year in Nigeria, while 10,000 people die annually at the rate of 10 people every hour.
UNEP links the alarming cancer, kidney and liver diseases in Nigeria to environmental pollution mainly due to industrialization and the improper handling & disposal of electronic waste.
Ochonogor warned that destruction of e-waste and disposing them properly is indispensable, particularly in a state like Lagos that is by each passing day fast evolving to a smart city.
He spoke from the prism of the fact that when not properly disposed that it can exacerbate the incidents of financial crime citing, fraud on e-payment platform of the Nigerian banking sector which was reported to have increased.
He said report published in 2014 by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, UK, estimated the annual cost of cybercrime to Nigeria was about 0.08 per cent of our GDP, representing about N127 billion, adding that according to Reuters findings in 2013 that Cyber criminals in Nigeria have moved beyond traditional “419” phishing attacks to now target businesses.
He also noted that global tracking of cyber-attacks indicate that Nigeria is among countries with the highest cases of software piracy, identity & intellectual property theft and malware attacks, and thus advocated for proper destruction and disposal of electronic waste to go with the beckoning smart city status of Lagos.