The World Customs Organization (WCO) recently expressed concern over the indiscriminate and incessant dumping of used electronic gadgets in Nigeria. The organization said that the gadgets emanated mostly from Europe and such products had been intercepted on several occasions at the Lagos seaport terminal.
The Secretary – General of the body, Mr. Kunio Mukuriya at a meeting of member-countries explained that a container load of the used gadgets was also intercepted in June, 2009 after a month – long vigil. The container, however, remained unclaimed. The organization had in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service seized about 30,000 tonnes and 1,500 pieces of hazardous waste in 57 interceptions. Nigeria is considered to be a major destination for used or second-hand appliances such as refrigerators, televisions screens; scrap metal and vehicle parts.
Nigeria, for a long time now, has been a dumping ground for all manner of used electronic gadgets. Unfortunately, even some Nigerians in Diaspora engage in this hazardous business. They see the trade as a business opportunity back home, which they exploit to the detriment of their fellow countrymen. This is an unhealthy practice, and the sooner the authorities put a stop to it, the better for the health of the country’s economy and the citizens. Nigerians, whether in or outside the country who trade in this illegal business should not in any way be considered patriotic citizens. Patriotism demands that we should be concerned with the possible ill effects our actions to our fellow citizens and desist from doing such acts. The negative effect of used electronic gadgets in Nigeria sometimes takes long to manifest especially where radioactive materials are involved.
The country has to look for ways to effectively manage electronic waste generally. The thing is that much of the used electronics can actually be imported legally into Nigeria. There should also be a way of making sure that some of the more dangerous ones do not end up in the country. And developing countries cannot do this alone.
Governments of developed countries that make regulations concerning the reduction of waste that go to landfills in their countries should consider that the waste, when exported as used items to developing countries, will end up in landfills and/or will be burnt anyway, releasing all kinds of toxin into the atmosphere. By reducing what go to their landfills they are increasing what go to the landfills of the countries that consume their waste. Also, regulations that stipulate that certain kinds of waste are not to be exported from the country have to be enforced…..
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