Gabriel Enenche —
The Nigerian Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA), and some e-waste recyclers have recycled some 300 tonnes of e-waste in Lagos.
Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, stated this at the close out ceremony of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project on Circular Economy Approaches for the Electronics Sector in Nigeria, held in Lagos last Tuesday.
Abdullahi, a Barrister, expressed gratitude to UNEP/GEF for the technical and financial support for the project.
He also commended the Lagos State Government for providing the enabling environment for the successful implementation of the project.
Abdullahi said that the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and the Lagos Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) played critical role for the project.
He said that their effort made it easy to achieve the project target of recycling 300 tonnes of e-waste in the state.
Represented by Mallam Stanley Jonah, Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Environment, Abdullahi said that e-waste was one of the fastest growing waste streams globally.
He said that most developing nations have been turned to a dumping ground with the influx of both new and used electrical and electronics.
Abdullahi noted that e-waste management for most developing countries including Nigeria was primarily handled by the informal sector, who scavenges for valuable material using crude methods.
“They retrieve the economically viable components through dismantling and dispose of the part that is not valuable to them either at open dumpsite or by burning or burying with municipal waste.
“Besides adding harmful element components to the environment, indiscriminate disposal of waste is a lost opportunity for recycling.
“Most solid waste contains some form of recycling materials, including plastics, glass, precious materials and metal.
“This call for concern on the resources efficiency and the attendant problems it poses to human health and the environment,” Abdullahi said.
Also, the Director-General, NESREA, Prof Aliyu Jauro, said that the environmental and health problems associated with e-waste are due to the hazardous material contained in them.
Jauro listed these materials as lead, mercury, beryllium, cadmium and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as brominated flame retardants.
He said that, as a nation, a clean and healthy environment was critical to the succour of the country’s developmental growth and key to achieving other goals.
The director-general said that Nigeria has responded to these challenges posed by e-waste by committing to, among others, formulation of policies and putting in place legislative and institutional framework for better environmental governance and sustainability.
Jauro added that proper waste management was essential to protect human health and the environment to preserve natural resources.
He said that the project objectives were to reduce the release of global pollutants (pops, mercury and chemicals) into the environment from the unsound handling and management of e-waste.
He listed other objectives as the reduction in the impacts on vulnerable populations engaged in the sector (women and children) and reducing the contamination of air, land and water at local and by extension, at the global level.
The D-G said that the project had four components: implementation of the EPR programme for e-waste, collection of 300 tonnes of e-waste collected through formalised collection channels that minimise environmental and health impacts.
Others are: Development of cost-effective recycling and disposal systems for various e-waste categories and regional and global knowledge exchange on the circular economy model for electronics sector.
Jauro said that, for over three years, the project recorded numerous milestones, particularly in the areas of strengthening the Electrical and Electronic Sector Regulations and meeting the target of the project by recycling 300 tonnes of e-waste.
Recyclers who distinguished themselves in the project and collectors where given awards for their hard-work.