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Health of Nigerians, others at risk as electronic waste rises 33% — ITU

Health of Nigerians, others at risk as electronic waste rises 33% — ITU

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has reported that electronic waste in Nigeria and other countries will rise 33 percent to 82 million tonnes by 2030.

The United Nations Specialised Agency for Information and Communication Technologies noted that there is now a global concern over the rate at which more electronic waste is being generated from used computers, mobile phones, and TVs, among other things.

The UN recently explained that e-waste are electrical products that people no longer need because they have stopped working or reached the end of their useful life. From burnt phone chargers to damaged television sets, any discarded electronic appliance is e-waste, and it has become the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.

Read also: Nigeria, others kick off $15m move to manage e-waste

“Discarded wastes from these devices constitute a health and environmental hazard as they contain toxic additives or hazardous substances such as mercury, which can damage the human brain and coordination system,” ITU said in the recently released UN’s fourth Global E-waste monitor.

It highlighted that the world’s generation of electronic waste is rising five times faster than documented e-waste recycling. In 2022, 62 million tonnes (Mt) of e-waste were produced, up 82 percent from 2010. This would fill 1.55 million 40-tonne trucks.

It said less than one quarter (22.3 percent) of the year’s e-waste mass was documented as properly collected and recycled in 2022, leaving $62 billion worth of recoverable natural resources unaccounted for and increasing pollution risks to communities worldwide.

“The annual generation of e-waste is rising by 2.6 million tonnes annually, on track to reach 82 million tonnes by 2030, a further 33 percent increase in 2022,” it said.

According to reports, over 500 thousand containers of e-waste enter Nigeria every month, exposing people to health challenges. Exposure to e-waste has various life-threatening consequences, such as DNA damage, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

“From discarded televisions to dumped telephones, an enormous amount of e-waste is generated around the world. With less than half of the world implementing and enforcing approaches to manage the problem, this raises the alarm for sound regulations to boost collection and recycling,” Cosmas Luckyson Zavazava, director of ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, said.

E-waste growth is set to increase with the invention of new gadgets. While most of these gadgets are not made in Africa, they usually find their way to the continent, which is the dumping site for these wastes, according to reports.