Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has called for basic infrastructure and harmonisation of enforceable regulatory framework for e-waste management and control in the country.
Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made the call at the 6th Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders Conference held at Muson Centre in Lagos.
In his presentation, entitled: ‘Management of E-Waste for Environmental Sector Sustainability in Nigeria Telecommunications,” Danbatta said there was need for capacity building, institutional framework, coordination of relevant sectors, monitoring and evaluation of e-waste management.
Danbatta was represented at the event by Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, Director, Legal and Regulatory Affairs of NCC.
The NCC boss said electronic devices were made up of toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium, polluting PVC and hazardous chemicals which could harm human health and the environment.
“The e-waste figure being generated is alarming. In 2016, the world’s population discarded 49 million tons of e-waste. It is estimated that by 2021, that number will grow to more than 60 million tons.
“Amongst equipment that enters the country labeled as “used” and considered functioning, much are ‘near end to life’ equipment which will soon become obsolete or non-functioning and will be added to the growing stream of e-waste,” he said.
Danbatta said there were available mechanisms to collect, transport, recycle and dispose e-waste through recycling, which was practiced both formally and informally.
He said companies must adhere to health and safety rules and use pollution-control technologies that reduced the health and environmental hazards of handling e-waste which made formal recycling expensive.
He disclosed that many companies and countries illegally exported e-waste to developing countries, such as Nigeria.
The vice chairman recalled that in 2011, at the e-waste summit in Nigeria, it was reported that an estimated 53,600 metric tones of e-waste were dumped annually at the Lagos State landfill.
“Such e-waste included, 860,000 computers, 530,000 printers, 900,000 monitors and 480,000 television sets.
“A portion of the e-waste are illegally shipped in contradiction to International Shipment Regulation, Bamako Convention and national laws-Harmful Waste Special Criminal provision Act 2004,” he said.
He said adoption of best practices such as designing better product that were safer, durable, repairable and recyclable would help in the reduction of e-waste.
He disclosed that NCC had developed waste regulation for the telecommunications industry to provide regulatory framework for the management and control of e-waste in the telecoms industry.
He added that NCC would promote reuse, recycle and other forms of recovery to reduce its disposal, reduce green house emission, create green jobs and contribute towards sustainable development.
“At NCC, we have developed industry e-waste regulations with the objective to improve management system of all operators in order to ensure implementation of ISO 14000 and any subsequent standard relevant to telecommunications industry,” he said.