By Franklin Alli
Non governmental organisations and stakeholders in the Electrical and Electronic industry, have began lobbying the Federal Government to ban the importation of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) from abroad into the country.
They are also seeking for the immediate passage into law before 2011 the E_waste Bill proposed to the National Assembly by NESREA/Federal Ministry of Environment.
In a communique issued and signed by representatives of 13 NGOs drawn from different parts of the country ( SRADev Nigeria, Friends of the Environment, Environmental Rights Action ,Waste Management Society of Nigeria, River Ethiope Trust Foundation, Port Harcourt etc), the stakeholders called for immediate ban on e-waste products into the country , saying: “There is a lack of capacity to handle electronic waste in an environmentally sound manner in the country, leading to the release of hazardous substances causing harm to human health and the environment.”
The stakeholders further proposed stringent penalty for law breakers and offenders who continue to import e_waste.
In the communique, they further pressed for the following:
Urgent establishment of “Refurbished Computer Programme Initiative” as alternative SMEs schemes in each of the e_waste hot spots (Ikeja computer village, GSM village, Alaba International markets and other hot spots identified across the country) as a green recycling industry for a sustainable livelihood; Intense awareness_raising activities and projects for all major stakeholders and sectors including the general public, informal sector, politicians, civil society, industry and government;
Urgent capacity building on compliance and enforcement for regulatory agents and law enforcement officials like the Green Customs Initiative and; Capacity building of the informal sector (handlers) to harness potential employment generation, economic and entrepreneurship opportunities. through training workshops in repair, refurbishment, dismantling/disassembling, and recycling of electrical and electronic products, including the identification of hazardous and toxic components in electrical and electronic equipment, including components that are recyclable;
Other recommendations include: Protection of workers and community health throughout the life_cycle of electrical and electronic products from manufacture to recycling and disposal; Legislative and voluntary extended producer responsibility and free take_back programs, including provisions for employment generation and poverty alleviation in the informal sector and;
Transparency with respect to information on hazardous substances contained in electrical and electronic equipments and products in the workplace and communities around disposal sites; and the tracking through final disposal of wastes and second_hand products by recycling companies and manufacturers.