Experts call for National E-waste Policy

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Experts want the federal government to introduce e-waste policy to encourage recycling of electronic equipment

By Anayo Ezugwu

Experts have called on the federal government of Nigeria to adopt a national electronic waste, e-waste, policy that would curb illicit importation of used electrical electronics equipment into the country. Ifeanyi Ochonogor, chief executive officer, E-Terra Technologies Limited, said such policy will regulate disposal and treatments of e-waste in Nigeria.

Speaking at the second edition of the Dialogue on Waste Management in Nigeria, organised by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria, Ochonogor said good policy would provide incentives that will spur foreign direct investment in the e-waste sector in Nigeria. He said Nigeria and other underdeveloped countries have become the dumping grounds for e-waste.

According to him, as a result of this, Nigeria must adopt a standard that will enable the country recycle these e-wastes. He noted that e-waste recycling will create wealth and job opportunities for many Nigerian youths. He added that the country needs to invest in e-waste collection and refurbishing.

Ochonogor said with the deepening Information and Communications Technology, ICT, penetration across the world, manufacturers need to produce easily recyclable products. “With 53.6 percent global internet access and increasing variety of digital products and services, electrical electronic equipment is witnessing an exponential surge in population globally.

“Although this on one hand could invariably mean valuable economic potential locally, on the other hand, it is a major threat both for people and the environment considering its hazardous chemical and material components. According to E-waste Statistics 2018, a report that is jointly financed by the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, around 60,000 tonnes of used electrical electronics equipment were imported into Nigeria in 2015 and 2016 through containers.

“The containers came in without vehicles and with roll-on/roll-off imported vehicles most of which functionality rate averaged 19 percent. Corroborating this data, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, reported that about 1.1 million tonnes of e-waste (mostly PCs, air-conditioners, LCD-TVs, mobile phones, refrigerators) is generated in Nigeria annually (about 40 percent with Lagos alone).

“Considering the absence of adequate infrastructure for sane and eco-friendly e-waste management, lack of a robust e-waste data repository, extensive informal recycling activities across the value chain and a non-functional extended producer responsibility framework which mandates producers to take responsibility for end-of-life scraps, it is essential that the country implement an inclusive benchmark assessment of e-waste handling across board,” he said.

On his part, Adrian Clews, managing director, Hinckley Group Nigeria, said the country has made a lot of achievements in the e-waste management. He said apart from South Africa, Nigeria is doing well in informal e-waste management in Africa.

He said there are seven informal recycling locations in Lagos where people collect and recycle waste in Nigeria. But he said the locations go beyond these seven areas. According to him, informal recycling happens in almost every street in Nigeria.

Clews regretted that the challenge with informal recycling in Nigeria is that the people involved collect everything call waste. He noted that they find it difficult to separate e-waste from plastic waste, thereby exposing everyone to both health and environmental hazards.

“There is need for government and concerned authorities to gather data on the volume of used electrical electronics equipment imported into the country. This will engender better cohesion and control of import procedures and regulations at the port. It is also important for us to understand the impact of informal recycling primarily on scavengers, the climate and the general populace,” he said.

– Nov. 9, 2018 @ 18:59 GMT |

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