Groups seek end to exports of electronic waste into Nigeria
Environmental advocacy groups have called on developed countries to ban export of electronic waste to Nigeria. E-Waste Relief Foundation and other eco-activists, made the appeal during the 2021 edition of Students Sustainability and E-Waste Awareness Programme (SEAP) at the Yabatech Secondary School, Yaba, Lagos.
According to the International Labour Organisation, up to 100,000 people work in the informal e-waste recycling sector in Nigeria. They collect and dismantle electronics by hand to reclaim components that can then be sold. These people are at risk of infection and physical injury from handling the waste.
They are in danger of direct chemical poisoning leading to organ dysfunction, or disorders as a result of indirect exposure to hazardous chemicals.
According E-Waste Relief Foundation, the programme is a way of catching them young, teaching students to protect the environment from the dangers of e-waste.
President of the foundation, Dr. Ifeanyi Ochonogor, told The Guardian that: “In developed countries, electronic wastes are collected and producers are mandated to take care of it through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
On why he took the campaign to the school, he said: “The students are the future, anybody who is not talking to them is not thinking about sustainability. We need them to be sensitised on electronic waste and harms it can cause users as well as how to recycle them.
Another environmentalist and consultant to Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Taiwo Adewole, said government is setting up 30 collections centres and app, where residents can request for collectors.
“This will make our environment cleaner and discourage open burning of electronic waste. When operational, it will be hard to walk on the road and see e-waste because incentives have been attached on every used item.
On his part, the Programme Coordinator, Okegbenro Femi, said the event is tailored to educate the younger populace on waste management best practices and inculcate good habits on them.
He said the project would be extended to other districts across the state.