Pix: Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC
BY ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has planned an end to e-waste dumping of used electronic materials, especially telecommunications devices, in the country.
Stating this at a public inquiry on e-Waste Regulations and Disaster Recovery Guidelines in Abuja, Tuesday, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, lamented the inflow of electronic wastes to the country, which he attributed to low Gross Domestic Product and illegal predatory practices by technologically advanced countries.
According to him, a recent report by the World Economic Forum on electronic waste is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, and was estimated at about 48.5 million tonnes in 2018.
He said, “In Africa, the challenge is even dire. In a fast-paced telecoms industry where speed and capacity define the networks, rapid advances in technology make it easier and convenient to change malfunctioning gadgets than to repair them.
“Also, the illegal and predatory e-waste value chain, which encourages the movement of e-waste from developed to the developing countries, adds another layer to the global challenge of handling the e-waste.”
He further stressed, “In Nigeria, due to low GDP per capita/low income, and the desperate quest for information, it is estimated that 75 per cent of the electronics imported into the country is irreparable and toxic junk.
Dambatta noted that the global concern for the regulation of e-waste is two-pronged. “First is the acute awareness of the hazardous properties and the potential risk to human health as well as their capacity to degrade the environment while second is the business case and vast potential for wealth creation in recycling e-waste into more benign and productive uses.”
The NCC boss said that the regulation that had been drafted by the commission provided clarity and delimited responsibility of various stakeholders in the e-waste chain within the telecommunications industry, emphasizing that the draft regulation said that every player within the e-waste management value chain – manufacturer, transporter, collection and disposal facility and recycler – must obtain authorisation from the commission after the coming into effect of the regulation.
“The commission might refuse, revoke or suspend an authorisation granted if the entity so authorised failed to comply with any of the conditions of its authorization,” he said, adding that it was mandatory for every manufacturer and producer generating e-waste to apply to the commission for an Extended Producer Responsibility Authorisation that would be valid for five years and renewable for another five years.
On the other hand, he said, the Guidelines on Disaster Recovery stresses the need for every network facility and service provider to have a disaster recovery plan comprising a strategic plan setting out the vision for utilisation of communication system for emergency purposes and guiding the network facility provider on its specific rules and responsibilities.