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29% of Nigeria’s health burden is from e-waste — WHO

By Joke Falaju, Abuja
19 December 2021   |   4:12 am
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said 29 per cent of Nigeria’s health burden is caused by waste from electronic materials.

e-waste

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said 29 per cent of Nigeria’s health burden is caused by environmental risk including electronic waste.

According to the global health body, electronic materials that are not well disposed are responsible for the health challenge facing many Nigerians.

The interim WHO Country Representative, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, stated this yesterday in Abuja, at the national stakeholders’ workshop on the prevention of impact of electronic waste and on child health.

Mulombo, represented by the national consultant, Public Health & Environment, WHO, Dr. Edwin Isotu Edeh, noted that there is urgent need to have e-waste very clearly identified as a health problem affecting Nigerians.

He said: “It is important to understand that the television and mobile phone you use in your house have chemicals in them. So, when you throw them into the dustbins and they are not properly managed, some people pick them up and try to bring us something from them.

“Those dangerous chemicals will begin to deteriorate, affecting people’s lungs. This will make it difficult for children to have good memory. It also affects the immune system of children and other people.”

The Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), Mr. Yemi Gbadegesin, noted that electronic products contain materials that render hazards through emissions, depending on their condition and density.

“E-waste presents a unique exposure scenario because people are exposed to a complex mixture of chemicals from multiple people sources and through multiple exposure routes,” he said. “We know the toxicities and health implications of the individual components that make up e-waste, but we need to understand how these components potentially interact to affect human health.

“We have seen what happened when the world was challenged with the unique threat of COVID-19 pandemic to human health, with varying degrees of variants, whose structures keep mutating daily to fight us back. Similarly, lessons learnt from lead/heavy metal poisoning in some states should be one of the working documents.”

Also, the Director, Occupational Safety and Health Department in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs. Lauretta Adogu, represented by Mrs. Anuli Okechukwu-Emejne, said the ministry is working to end the challenges of e-waste across the country.

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