By Emeka Aginam
While Nigeria strives to achieve digital switch over by 2017 with growing concern over e-waste challenge, the Director, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba has assured on prosper electronic waste management.
With the planned building of a massive N197 billion ($1bn) manufacturing plant for set-top box in Abule Egba, Lagos State, e-waste issue, keen observers said is expected acroos the nation.
It would be recalled that Nigeria was not able to switch over to digital terrestrial television last June as a result of funding challenge.
The NBC DG who was reacting to questions on how best to manage e-waste in the migration process told IT Journalists during the signing of Memorandum of understanding between Media Concepts International, MCI, a Set Top Box, STB, manufacturer licensed by the NBC in partnership with South Korea, KAON recently said that the Commission was making arrangement for collection center across the nation.
Although Nigeria’s transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting is expected to exacerbate a national e-waste problem, he assured that the Commission was already discussing with relevant regulatory agencies in Nigeria on how best to manage and address e-waste.
“We will put in place mechanism to manage e-waste. We are having discussion with other regulatory agencies on how best to e-waste changes in the transition process” he said.
It would be recalled that the former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson had
also assured Nigerians that the volume of electronic waste that would be generated from the migration from DSO would not affect the migration process.
Before now, according to industry watcher, the informal processing of electronic waste in developing countries may cause serious health and pollution problems, as some of these countries may have limited regulatory oversight of e-waste processing.
According to them, the volume of e-waste from analogue television and other electronic devices might hamper a smooth migration process, since Nigeria did not have recycling plant that could process and covert analogue electronic gadgets into digital devices.
E-waste is categorized as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic materials such as mercury, lead and brominated flame retardants are considered as hazardous waste, according to the Basel Convention.
The Basel Convention started to address e-waste issues since 2002 which included, among others, environmentally sound management; prevention of illegal traffic to developing countries and; building capacity around the globe to better manage e-waste.
Meanwhile, e-waste is not only a global environmental hazard, it’s a burgeoning multimillion-dollar criminal business, according to a United Nations report released recently.
The report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said that as much as 90 percent of the world’s electronic waste , everything from used computers to smartphones, is illegally traded or dumped each year.
Much of the e-waste winds up in Africa and Asia. “We are witnessing an unprecedented amount of electronic waste rolling out over the world. Not only does it account for a large portion of the world’s non-recycled waste mountain, but it also poses a growing threat to human health and the environment, due to the hazardous elements it contains,” Achim Steiner, U.N. Undersecretary-General and executive director of UNEP, had said in a statement.