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Improper handling, disposal of e-waste sure way to terminal ailments—Ochonogor

Few days after a viral video trended, showing where a tertiary school authority was burning thousands of smartphones and allied devices seized from students during semester exams, industry experts have started reviewing the dangers of the action.

Analysts say even though the action was to serve as deterrent for other students who may wish to indulge in exam malpractices’, in an interview with Dr. Ifeanyi Ochonogor, the CEO, E-Terra Technologies Limited and President e-Waste Relief Foundation (e-WRF), he described the action as the worst thing to happen be done to both humans and the environment.

On the need to raise public awareness handling and disposing e-Waste, he said “There is need for concerted enlightenment and education on the dangers of e-waste and the need for proper handling and disposal of same through the combined efforts of government and industry stakeholders.”

“It has been established that the rising cases of diseases like cancer, diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases are caused by undue exposure to radioactive substances resulting from improper disposal of electronic waste.

“The exponential growth in the use of technology devices such as computers, telephones, tablets, TVs have made these tools part of our everyday lives whether as individuals or businesses. As these devices reach their end of life, they become obsolete and unwanted and the challenge of properly disposing them in an environmentally sustainable manner that does not harm humans and the environment is important.

“Apart from health issues, improper handling of electronic devices can result in data breaches and loss of confidential information that can cost business monumental losses in terms revenue. Dr Ochonogor also revealed that “The United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) had linked increasing cases of cancer, kidney and liver diseases in Nigeria to environmental pollution. Certification of companies importing the electronics is also important to ensure they meet international best practices.”

Giving further insights on the role government can play to tackle the scourge of e-waste in the country, the expert made it clear that “There is the need to make relevant amendments to existing ICT Laws and institutional framework to insert mandatory provisions and policies for anti-dumping, responsible and accountable usage, and end of life and safe disposal of electronic equipment for compulsory compliance by manufacturers, vendors and distributors of computers and electronic gadgets.”

Continuing, he said “On the part of government and regulators, there is need to encourage companies like our own through tax incentives such as putting e-waste companies in the pioneer status category, reduce incidence of multiple taxation and municipal charges and offering rebates and waivers on equipment importation and port clearance charges.”