The Nigerian Communication Commission is pushing ahead with implementing draft regulations on e-waste, it developed within the last year.
That, the commission has said is in line with its regulatory mandate and to keep pace with efforts at managing e-waste-related issues.
Early in 2019, the Commission unveiled regulation on e-waste and guidelines on distaste recovery at a stakeholder engagement forum held in his office in Abuja.
Officials from the commission say regulations focus on electrical or electronic equipment that is waste, including all components, sub-assembles and consumables that are part of the equipment at the time the equipment becomes waste.
Apart from their solid and non-biodegradable nature, some of the toxic elements found in e-waste include lead, mercury, lithium and other ozone-depleting substances.
The executive vice chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had in past told industry stakeholders based on a World Economic Forum (WEF) report, electronic waste (e-waste) is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.
According to Danbatta, ‘It is estimated that this waste stream spiked by about 48.5 million tonnes in 2018. In Africa, the challenge is even direr. In a fast-paced telecoms industry where speed and capacity define the networks, rapid advances in technology make it easier and convenient to change malfunctioning gadgets than to repair them.
“Also, illegal and predatory e-waste value chain, which encourages the movement of e-waste from developed to the developing countries, adds another layer to the global challenge of handling e-waste,” the NCC chief executive stated during a stakeholder forum held in Abuja in 2019 to on the e-waste regulation.
The draft regulations represent a holistic regulatory intervention aimed at providing clarity and delimiting the responsibilities of various stakeholders in the e-waste value-chain within the telecommunications industry.
While the draft regulation is industry-specific, it, nonetheless, keys into other initiatives at national and international levels.
Notably, the global concern for the regulation of e-waste is two-pronged.
The first is the acute awareness of the hazardous properties and the potential risk on human health, as well as their capacity to degrade the environment.
The second is the business case and vast potential for wealth creation in recycling e-waste into more benign and productive uses.