Nigeria, Other African Countries Generate 2.9 million Metric Tons of E-waste Each Year

TECHDIGEST – Nigeria and other African countries are leading the way in the management of electronic trash, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (e-waste). 

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, stated the information and communication technology (ICT) boom has resulted in a massive increase of “e-waste.” According to Bogdan-Martin, the globe generated a record 53.6 million metric tonnes (MT) of e-waste in 2019, and this amount is on the rise, with experts predicting that the annual creation of e-waste will reach 74.7 Mt by 2030.

Taking on this challenge, she believes, will necessitate a deliberate and coordinated effort from all organizations and individuals involved in the electronics value chain. She believes that producers will need to adopt a new strategy and assume ownership of a product’s entire lifecycle. According to Bogdan-Martin, African countries are leading the way in terms of e-waste management. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, 13 African countries had enacted e-waste policies, legislation, or regulations. She believes their efforts can serve as a model for other countries wanting to enhance their e-waste management systems.

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With Nigeria and other African countries producing 2.9 million tonnes of e-waste each year, the ITU chairman explained that long-term e-waste management solutions will necessitate a fair and economically sustainable approach to extended producer responsibility (EPR). EPR mandates that producers – such as makers, importers, or distributors – be responsible for the end-of-life management of devices sold on the market, according to her. Returning products, recycling them, and eventually disposing of them are all part of this.

“Regulation must contain clear and easy-to-understand definitions of the different e-waste stakeholders to avoid confusion. Many African countries have given definitions in their regulations covering e-waste management and EPR. For example, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa place emphasis on a person or persons – rather than on entities – introducing, importing and manufacturing electronics. This makes it more efficient to identify who must register with the associated EPR scheme,” she stated.

According to Bogdan-Martin, Africa’s experience with e-waste management offers fascinating options that all countries should examine when developing an e-waste management system. “Of course, continual improvement is required to ensure that the e-waste management system is capable of adapting to changing conditions.

“Government actions like this help create standards for new ways of working, living, and conducting business. They also emphasize a critical message: that “electronic reuse and recycling should be valued by all stakeholders.”

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