WHO raises concern over health impact of electronic waste on pregnant women
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged government to regulate and manage electronic waste exposure on women and children, because e-waste contains over 1000 different chemical toxicants that negatively impact on the environment, health of pregnant women and children, who work at e-waste dismantling sites across the country.
The National Consultant, Public Health and Environment, WHO Nigeria, Dr Edwin Isotu-Edeh, stated this during the presentation of a keynote address at a webinar on Electronic Waste and Public Health in Nigeria, jointly organised by the federal ministries of Health, Environment, departments and agencies of governments with the theme, `Health Impacts of Electronic Waste in Nigeria: Are you a victim or perpetrator?’
He noted that the sustainability of the e-waste and health intervention is key to protecting Nigeria’s gains in maternal and child health.
Also speaking, Director, Climate Change and Environmental Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Shuaibu Bonji, restated the commitment of the Federal Government towards public health safety, saying the ministry was working to end the challenges of e-waste across the country.
He also called for more sustained partnership from all stakeholders.
Director, Research and Documentation, Nigeria Environmental Summit Group, Dr Kingsley Okpara, said that activities such as burning and dismantling of discarded electronic items have huge impact on those living around e-waste sites in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano.
According to him, many site workers formed the habit of burning these products at night when law enforcement officers had closed from work.
“We discovered that most people just discard their e-waste without bothering to recycle it formally. This has led to pollution of water sources and the environment. Yes, there is a lot of money in it, but e-waste products contain about 1,000 harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury, among others and are carcinogenic in nature.
“Pregnant women and children work and live at e-waste sites, this should not be. Informal e-waste workers are completely oblivion when it comes to the toxic nature of e-waste.”
For Lead Consultant, C-Circle Research, Dr Chimere Ohajinwa, the tiers of government should invest in home-grown research and stop relying on foreign evidence.
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