SON, NESREA to curb impact of e-waste on environment

DG SON Mallam Farouk Salim (left) presenting a gift to DG NESREA Dr. Aliu Jauro.

The influx of electronic waste (e-waste) into Nigeria is a source of concern to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) as the heads of the two agencies have resolved to curb the impact of the menace on the environment.

SON and NESREA made the resolution to strengthen collaboration towards more effective regulation of electronic waste management in the country during a recent courtesy visit by the NESREA Director-General, Dr. Aliu Jauro to his SON counterpart, Mallam Farouk Salim, in Abuja. 

Dr. Jauro acknowledged the existing collaboration between the two organisations since NESREA came into existence, especially in the areas of standards development, adoption and review which has contributed immensely to his agency’s regulatory efforts in environmental standards. 

He however expressed concern about the negative effects of electronic waste (e-waste) in Nigeria following the influx of obsolete and near end-of-life electronics into the country, thus requiring closer attention. 

The NESREA Chief Executive referred to the two agencies’ active participation in an inter-ministerial consultative committee set up by the Federal Government in 2009 to strategize on curbing the influx of electronic waste and near the end of life electrical/electronic equipment and products which safe disposal poses a serious challenge to the Nation in view of the hazardous materials contained in them.  

Dr. Jauro also expressed concern about recyclers of Electronic waste materials across the country whose activities are carried out in an unsound environmental manner, thus impacting the environment and human health negatively. 

The NESREA boss, therefore, sought SON’s support to enhance the effective regulation of e-waste and mitigate the negative effects in Nigeria by making the lists of all Electrical/Electronic Equipment (EEE) and products certified under the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) for locally manufactured products and those imported under the offshore conformity assessment programmes (SONCAP) available to NESREA. 

As stated by him, “this will provide NESREA with the inventory of importers of Electrical Electronic Equipment (EEE) to enable the Agency follow-up and ensure that the goods are appropriately recycled at the end of the life cycle and disposed of properly and in an environmentally sound manner.” 

Responding, Mallam Farouk Salim identified e-waste as a threat to health and the environment when not handled properly, lamenting the general ignorance of the dangers by the larger population while the recyclers prioritize their financial gains over public good and operate freely due to lack of consequences for their negative activities. 

According to the SON Chief Executive, “the country has become a dumping ground for so many toxic materials thus exposing the citizens to diseases like cancer without knowing the source.” 

He therefore acceded to a joint Committee to workout appropriate measures to integrate areas of common interests between the two organisations in order to curb the consequences of the prevalence of e-waste in Nigeria. 

Salim posited that the proposed committee should consider strengthening existing standards, work towards engendering far-reaching regulations of e-waste and its effects on the environment as well as greater consequences for people responsible for the menace through the legislature. 

It was therefore agreed that SON and NESREA harmonize both Agency’s roles on a take-back system in line with the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme, and also for SON to provide necessary inputs to the Sanitation & Waste Control and the EEE Sector Regulations which are currently under review by a Technical Committee.

Mallam Salim promised NESREA the needed support in its continued effort to regulate e-waste and near-end of life EEE in the country as well as designing an environmentally sound management programme on e-waste.

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