Manufacturers and importers of electronic devices into Nigeria are now to face heavy sanctions for contravening electronic waste regulation. The newly introduced regulation on e-waste specifies a N500, 000 fine per day from the date of default on any electronic manufacturer that operates in the country without obtaining Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) authorisation from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
According to the law, importers of electrical and electronic equipment that operate without the authorisation also face N200, 000 daily sanctions. The legal document released by NCC mandates electronic manufacturers to take responsibilities for the management of wastes generated from their products. “Every manufacturer of electrical and electronic equipment covered by the Type Approval Standards set out by the Commission shall be responsible for Implementing the ERP which include collection and channelling of E-waste generated from the ‘end-of-life’ of the products manufactured, imported or placed on the market by it in line with the target prescribed in the EPR authorisation as contained in schedule I of these Regulations” the document read.
“ERP authorisation shall comprise of general scheme for collection of waste electrical electronic equipment from the electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market earlier, such as through dealer, collection facility, Producer Responsibility Organisation, through buy-back arrangement, exchange scheme, deposit refund scheme, return to retail store, drop-off site, collection event, whether directly or through any authorised agency and channelling the items so collected to authorised recyclers” it added.
For importers of electronic devices, the regulation mandates them to “to ensure that the devices being imported have been type-approved by the Commission; are of comparative models of equipment in use; are fit for the purpose originally designed for; are fully functional as originally intended; in outward/external appearance do not show any waste characteristics; are not scraps; and are properly packaged for protection during transportation, loading and unloading.
The telecoms regulator had last year expressed concerns over the rise in e-waste in the country through the important of used and substandard electronic devices. The regulator feared that the wastes being generated when these devices stop working and are dumped pose a lot of dangers to the health of Nigerians.
Electronic wastes from mobile phones and other electronic devices such as computer and television contain toxic substances that can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment, according to health experts. Harmful components such as mercury, sulfur, cadmium, beryllium, brominated flame and lead are found in electronic scraps and these components pose a very deadly threat to humans.
Nigeria, with over 160 million active mobile subscriptions has been a major destination for new, used, fake, original, and substandard phones from all over the world. This, the NCC said is now constituting an imminent danger to the people.
According to NCC’s Head Standards and Network Integrity, Engr. Bako Wakil, the situation in Nigeria became more worrisome in the absence of a proper e-waste management policy. “We have a lot of these devices coming into the country, some are counterfeits, some are substandard. For those phones, the user is already exposed to a lot of health risks while it is being used. And then when the phone pack up, it is dumped somewhere and that constitute health hazard to other people and the environment” he said” Wakil had said.
However, Commission said the new law provides regulatory framework for the management and control of E-waste in the telecommunications Industry. According to NCC, it would also promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery to reduce wastes disposal. It added that the regulation will also help to improve the environmental management system of all operators involved in the life circle of all Type Approved Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) set out by the Commission in order to ensure the implementation of the ISO 14000 and any subsequent standards relevant to the telecommunications industry.