Written by Sarah NEGEDU

75% imported electronics are toxic waste- NCC

An estimated 75 percent of the electronics devices imported into Nigeria are said to be irreparable and toxic junk constituting danger to the environment.

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, therefore said it has become necessary to stop the dumping of electronic wastes, especially used telecommunications devices, in the country.

The Executive Vice Chairman, of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, said this at a public inquiry on e-Waste Regulations and Disaster Recovery Guidelines in Abuja.

Danbatta said the flow of electronic wastes in the country is mostly driven by low Gross Domestic Product and the desperate quest for information.

“According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, electronic waste is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. It is estimated that this waste stream spiked by about 48.5 million tonnes in 2018.

“In Africa, the challenge is even dire. In a fast-paced telecoms industry where speed and capacity define the networks, rapid advances in technology make it easier and convenient to change malfunctioning gadgets than to repair them.

“Also, the illegal and predatory e-waste value chain, which encourages the movement of e-waste from developed to the developing countries, adds another layer to the global challenge of handling e-waste.”

Particularly on Nigeria, Danbatta said “due to low GDP per capita/low income, and the desperate quest for information, it is estimated that 75 percent of the electronics imported into the country is irreparable and toxic junk.

“The global concern for the regulation of e-waste is two-pronged. First is the acute awareness of the hazardous properties and the potential risk to human health as well as their capacity to degrade the environment. Second is the business case and vast potential for wealth creation in recycling e-waste into more benign and productive uses.”

Already the commission has drafted a regulation which provides clarity and delimited responsibility of various stakeholders in the e-waste chain within the telecommunications industry.

The draft regulation states that every player within the e-waste management value chain – manufacturer, transporter, collection and disposal facility and recycler – must obtain authorization from the commission after the coming into effect of the regulation.

It said that the commission might refuse, revoke or suspend an authorization granted if the entity so authorized failed to comply with any of the conditions of its authorization.

It is also mandatory for every manufacturer and producer generating e-waste to apply to the commission for an Extended Producer Responsibility Authorisation that would be valid for five years and renewable for another five years.

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