Foundation advocates policies to address e-waste management

The Vice Chairman, E-Waste Relief Foundation (ERF), a non-governmental organisation, Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, has called for measures and policies to address electronic waste management.

He spoke yesterday on the sidelines of a one-day capacity building workshop organised for the informal sector on the handling and disposal of electronic waste (e-waste).

Osibanjo described the influx of e-waste into the country and its adverse effect as alarming.

He said besides climate change, e-waste had become one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world in the 21st century because of the influence of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Osibanjo said the two consequences of improper e-waste disposal were hormone disruption and confusion of the human immune system.

“The circuit board of electronics contains hazardous contents such as Lead, Mercury and Chromium, which are dangerous to humans and the environment. The plastic screen of electronics is impregnated with brominated flame retardants.

“These substances are persistent organic pollutants and are released into the environment when these electronics are burnt.

“The chemicals are also carcinogenic endocrine disruptors (endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine or hormone systems at certain doses, causing cancerous tumours, birth defects and other developmental disorders).

“This is why you can see an eight-year-old girl menstruating; it is caused by endocrine disruption, which has confused her immune system.

“This information is common knowledge in developed countries, which is why they tend to come and dump their e-waste in Africa,” he said.

Osibanjo said the e-waste produced globally and annually had reached “a near-Tsunami level”, adding that in Nigeria, e-waste management was handled by the informal sector.

The professor urged governments and stakeholders to take a cue from the ERF by training people in the informal sector in purposeful e-waste management.

“We can do everything on the phone now, but the dark side of it is the unlimited production of e-waste.

“The original equipment manufacturers have become smarter and they manufacture their products not to last long. We call it rapid obsolescence.

 

 

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Author: Our reporter