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500,000 used computers, 60,000 tonnes of e-waste imported into Nigeria — Study

By Godfrey Bivbere
& Ebuka Oko

A STUDY carried out by Basel  Action Network, BAN, a global body fighting for a cleaner environment, in 2016, showed that about 500,000 used computers 75 per cent of which are junks and unserviceable, were imported into the country annually.

Disclosing this at the official launch of the project, “Circular Economy Approaches For the Electronics Sector In Nigeria,” organized by the National Environmental Standard Regulatory Enforcement Agency, NESREA, the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odushotu, said the study showed that only 25 per cent of such imports actually worked.

The permanent secretary who was represented at the launch by the Federal Controller of the ministry, Mrs Oluwatoyin Agbola, said that the 2016 study also showed that estimated 60,000 tonnes of used electrical and electronic wastes in containers were imported into Nigeria annually through the Lagos ports, including imports from neighbouring countries.

Odushotu said, “According to the findings of the Basel Action Network and Basel centre; Nigeria’s study, about 500,000 used computers are imported into the country annually through the Lagos ports alone and an estimated 25 per cent of the imports were functional electronics while the remaining 75 per cent were junked or unserviceable which are eventually burnt or dumped.

“Furthermore the study also showed a 2016 estimated 60,000 tonnes of used electrical and electronic waste of containers are imported into Nigeria per year only via the Lagos ports, including imports over landing through neighbouring countries, with most imported Used Electrical and Electronic, UEE, equipment; partially functioning and most of them still remain none functional.

“They say Nigeria may have imported at least 15,700 tonnes of e-waste most of which are SCD television containing mercury; refrigerators and air conditioners containing HCL6. In an effort to curb the growing concerns of waste, including e-waste in the country, the federal government provided the legal framework and established NESREA, an institutional mechanism with the mandate to control and prevent processes or technology that undermine environmental quality.”

Speaking earlier, Director General of NESREA, Prof. Aliyu Jauro, said the project is intended to work closely with manufacturers and importers of these items to ensure that the hazardous items in their products are recycled at the end of the product’s life cycle.

Jauro noted that enlightenment has been going on in the past but, however, explained that the big players in the industry are cooperating with NESREA.

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