A don, Prof. Yinusa Adediran, has called on the Federal Government to enact and enforce laws on collection, recovery, re-use and recycling of e-waste in Nigeria.
Adediran, who is of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, made the call at the 188th Inaugural Lecture of the institution on Thursday, January 10, 2020.
The lecture was titled: “In the realms of Telecommunication, Reliability and Quality Engineering”.
He said that there was no legislation to control the flow of used consumer electronic products into the country.
According to the don, used electronic products are not regarded as contraband by the Nigerian Customs Service if appropriate duties and taxes are collected on them.
Adediran said that 20 million to 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated worldwide annually.
He noted that in the U.S. alone, 14 million to 20 million personal computers were thrown out each year with annual increase of three to five per cent.
He stated that 13 per cent to 18 per cent of the e-waste was recycled while in the end disused equipment found their way into landfills where they posed environmental and health hazards to humans, livestock and the soil.
The don also said some of the e-waste found their way to developing countries in Africa, where they were carelessly handled, hence posing serious threat to human, soil, livestock and drinking water.
“There is no public awareness on the inherent dangers of handling e-waste, which is regarded as business opportunity, except for smelting of scrap metals,” he said.
The expert also stated that there were no e-waste recycling facilities in Nigeria, and also blamed professionals in the industries for poor corporate social responsibility on control of e-waste.
Adediran lamented that many Nigerians were unaware of the dangers inherent in careless handling of e-waste.
He noted that it was common to see both young and old scavengers rummaging through solid waste heaps at dumpsites without caring about the health implications of such dangerous means of livelihood.
“It is, therefore, pertinent to consider alternative ways of managing e-waste, particularly in healthier and safer ways which includes recovery, reusing and recycling,” he said.
Adediran appealed to government and all relevant agencies to legislate against uncontrolled dumping of electronic wastes in Nigeria.
He urged the government to also provide enabling environment for medium and small-scale enterprises so that they could add value to the abundant raw materials and process them to industrial use grade.
By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal