" ITREALMS: For The Records: EPR, key to end-of-life responsibility - ITREALMS

Thursday, December 08, 2022

For The Records: EPR, key to end-of-life responsibility - ITREALMS

ForTheRecords@ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news!

Speakers Faculty at 2022 ITREALMS E-Waste Dialogue


I am delighted to give a keynote address on this occasion of the 2022 E-waste dialogue organized by ITREALMS Media Inc. There is no doubt, e-waste is one waste stream that is growing so fast and poses grave danger to the human health and environment.

I also commend the efforts of ITREAMS Media Inc over the years, your role towards the transition processes to a sustainable society and Circular Economy in anticipation of the 5G full implementation is worthy of note and this occasion is considered timely.

The concern about e-waste arises from the fact that it contains about 1000 hazardous substances, dioxins and furans known carcinogens which are released into the environment from the prevalent crude recycling practices where cables are burnt openly, Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) and other parts are broken processed to extract copper, precious materials like gold, diamond, etc.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these substances in the environment interfere with the body functional processes increasing risks of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, acute and chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma and many other health problems. High mortality rates are being recorded from the inhalation of these noxious and toxic emissions from informal recycling of e-waste.

The focus on Small e-waste equipment which includes small computer peripherals, mobile phones, tools, toys, and kitchen and bathroom appliances among others has become necessary as they also have attendant effects. And the drive to recycle it all, no matter how small is focused on promoting the recycling of small e-waste items. This would help to determine the lifespan or resident time for small EEE in homes of people.

Note that, Small e-waste in Nigeria does not have to do with only illegal imports, but also on better management of domestically generated e-waste through proper collection, storage, transportation, and recycling given e-waste’s socio-economic impacts.

Consequently, there are many challenges facing the sector which needs to be addressed very critically to achieve the desired result of better small e-waste management. These include; lack of awareness on waste handling, lack of capacity for the waste handlers and lack of willingness of the producers to take responsibility for their product at end-of-life.

In an effort to curb the growing concerns of waste including the menace of e-waste in the country, the Federal Government provided a legal framework and established the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) an institutional mechanism with the mandate to control and prevent processes or technology that undermine environmental quality, to develop guidelines and standards and enforce compliance with relevant national and international environmental laws and regulations, among others.

In order to realize its mandate, NESREA has developed various National Environmental Regulations on different sectors of the economy. One of such is the National Environmental (Electrical/Electronic Sector) Regulations 2011. This regulation was developed with the thrust to prevent and minimize pollution from all operations and ancillary activities of the Electrical/Electronic Sector to the Nigerian environment. The Regulation is based on life cycle approach and covers all aspects of the electrical/electronic sector from cradle to cradle, with provision on the Extended Producer Responsibility Programme (EPR).

Nigeria has made a lot of strides to promote the ESM of e-waste through the development of regulations with the implementation of the EPR programme, a strategy of total decreased environmental impact of a product from a life cycle management approach.

Distinguished participants, the EPR is a key programme of government that mandates manufacturers, importers and distributors to take-back their end-of-life products from the environment. The programme is designed to evolve a process whereby the manufacturer of a product imbibes the cleaner production principles of conserving raw materials and energy by taking responsibility for the entire life cycle of the product and ensuring that waste from such products are minimized and reused in one form or the other.

The Operational Guidelines for the EPR had been developed and published, delineating responsibilities for the key sector players- the producers, consumers, collectors, recyclers, the Producer Responsibility Organization (PROs) and the government. The guidelines define the procedures as manufacturers, importers, assemblers and major distributors and it explains the modalities for the implementation of the EPR programme, and the target waste streams such as used batteries, e-waste, plastics, tires, chemicals, paper, etc.

The EPR implementation attracted the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support the collection and treatment of 300 tons of e-waste. Under which 30 collection centers have been established, training held for the operators of the collection centers, and Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) provided for them amongst others.

Recently, as part of activities of the PRO for the International E-waste Day Celebration conducted a collaborative study with NESREA to determine the lifespan or resident time for small EEE in homes of people in some selected States in the homes of people in some states across the country.

The study employed the use of a sample Consumer Survey for measuring hoarding of small WEEE passed on in households across Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Ogun State and the FCT, Abuja to enable EPRON establish consumer patterns will be instrumental to the development of appropriate small WEEE collection initiatives and approaches across the country.

I must also mention that these paid off as the project ‘’Small E-waste Recycle campaign Project’’ to pilot the implementation of E-waste take back system in retails centres using SLOT outlets. As reported by EPRON, 19 collectors are currently participating in the Project, 42 receptacles have been delivered alongside with danglers, raffle tickets and cash incentives to 22 SLOT outlets assigned to all the 19 collectors.

There are a lot of positive responses from the SLOT managers about the massive droppings of the Small E-waste items by consumers. So far, a total of 15kg of small items has been collected from one of the SLOT outlets by a collector.

This is a call for us all to work together to take positive actions that will evolve an enduring legacy to improve the environmental quality in our rural and urban areas. It is important that we must promote inter-agency cooperation at Federal and State levels by supporting the regulatory and enforcement agencies whose mandates have direct bearing on environmental quality, so that they can effectively implement the relevant laws and regulations relating to it.

There is equally a strong need for public awareness and attitudinal change. We must develop an effective communication strategy for the implementation of programmes arising from the relevant regulations, including public education and awareness, and encourage networking and exchange of information, knowledge and experience at state, national and international levels.

Ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me that the task ahead of us demand mutually supportive role if we must combat environmental degradation and promote economic growth and peaceful conflict resolution. 

I believe that this conference will come up with activities that will further sensitize the populace to be more responsive to taking proactive measures towards protecting jealously our common heritage, our resource and economic base and our life support system.
The Federal Government cannot do it alone. For economic growth and sustainable Environmental Health to be effective, there is need for all stakeholders to work closely and collaborate among themselves.

Finally, Nigeria should not be left behind in the global quest for achieving sustainable development through recycling as well as g combatting environmental pollution poverty alleviation, creation of decent jobs, improvements in living standards, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, other pollutants and the extended life of resources towards improved public health.

I am very optimistic that, your efforts towards awareness creation and with this dialogue contribute your own quota towards the sustainability and with the array of stakeholders gathered here today, we will come-up with meaningful discussions on the mechanisms for achieving a sustainable and circular management of electronic products in Nigeria including the treatment and management of e-waste.

While thanking you for your kind attention, I wish you a successful and fruitful deliberation.

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