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E-waste: Manufacturers, importers face N700, 000 daily sanctions

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.


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