E – Waste has been described as a source of income rather than waste that should be discarded or burnt as the case may be.
This was revealed by Professor Osibanjo, the Executive Director, Basel Convention Coordinating Center (BCCC) for the African region at an event organized by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria in Lagos last week.
According to him “E – waste contains gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals, that is why a renewed interest is shown by foreign companies in gathering the e – waste in Nigeria and the UN has said that it is cheaper to remove these precious metals from the circuit board than start looking for fresh metals from the ground” .
He further added that many Nigerians out of ignorance either burn or discard their equipment that have outlived their usefulness but this should not be so because according to him “they are losing money”.
He continued, “these foreign companies buy these ‘scrap ‘ equipment at giveaway prices, take it to their countries and recycle them, the recovery rate is over 99%, I have been in China where they have recycling machine, they recover everything “.
Also speaking at the event was Engineer Adebola Shabi the General Manager of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) who spoke on the hazards of e – waste.
He said that e-waste are electrical equipment or appliances that have outlived their life span and about 1.1 million tonnes of these e – waste come into the country in the form of second hand or ‘Tokunbo’ products.
“Basel convention is a global convention on e – waste, and according to them e – waste is hazardous to health, this phone you are using now and every other electronic equipment contain over 60 chemicals, there is lead, there is mercury. there is cadmium, all these are carcinogenic, furthermore the plastic of your mobile phones or computers does not catch fire, do you know why because they are coated with what is called Brominated flame retardant, a very dangerous chemical, so if these are burnt in fire, they will release this chemical to the atmosphere that is why there is a lot of cancer cases, so when you hear a case of a 4year old dying of cancer, it is not spiritual attack, it is really cancer.
He however said that awareness and requisite education has to be made so that Nigerians would be aware of this silent killer.