THE challenge that e-waste possess to the environment and Nigeria as a nation can no longer ignored; at the same time, e-waste is an economic opportunity that can be exploited to generate wealth.
The Minister of State for the Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril stated this at the 11th session of the National Council on Environment held at the June 12 Cultural Centre in Abeokuta, last week.
Making his comments following a presentation at the NCE by Christian Wessels of the World Economic Forum on “Solving Nigeria’s E-waste Crisis”, the minister said, “E-waste is a real challenge and environmental hazard. There is a concerted effort by major players in the world: Phillips, Dell, Microsoft and many others that have come together to take the initiative, knowing they have the responsibility of recycling these products which they initiated in the first place.
“Secondly, we need to know that in Nigeria, you can separate these e-waste into two: the brand-new ones that are imported into the country and are sold and used by all of us, and which ultimately come to the end of their shelf life and are discarded as waste. The second category are those that imported into Nigeria as second-hand materials.
“These materials contain all kinds of precious metals like gold, nickel, chromium, and the rest.
“We are saying that these materials can be recycled and you can get a huge quantity of these metals from them, particularly computers and handsets, and people can make money out of it.”
He pointed out that NESREA has worked on regulations, namely the Extended Producer Responsibility.
Concluding his remarks, he asserted that “Let it be known that these e-wastes can no longer be ignored and that we have to address them, and in addressing them, we can actually create wealth out of the waste that is generated.”