By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu, Correspondent Lagos
The international multiple-award winning online publication, the ITREALMS Media is to host its 2020 Electronic Waste (e-Waste) dialogue in Lagos on Thursday, December 17 at Welcome Centre Hotels, along international airport road with the theme: ‘e-Waste in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities.’
Disclosing this, the Editor-in-chief of ITREALMS Media inc, publishers of ITREALMS Online, Remmy Nweke, said that this has become imperative as the electronics waste being generated in the country have continued to grow.
The 2020 ITREALMS e-Waste Dialogue, he said would use the dialogue to examine Nigeria’s burden with regards to the Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) coming from the likes of mobile phones, computers, TV-sets, and fridges among other electronic devices.
“This kind of waste has become one of the fastest growing waste streams across the globe,” he declared.
Nweke pointed out that this burden estimated at 1.1 million tonnes of e-waste annually arising from both local and imported Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE).
He cited for instance, that the United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP) reported in 2015 that Nigeria had 56,000 tonnes of imported e-waste; in 2017, this figure increased to 288,000 tonnes; over four times higher than two years earlier.
He stressed that as at July 2020, Nigeria had 285,259,320 connected lines with some 198,961,361 active and 151,063,413 active internet data subscriptions across all the Nigerian Mobile Network Operators by technology.
This, Nweke said is expected to grow into million tonnes of e-waste of mobile devices by end of 2021, aside the fairly used imported devices meant for cushioning digital divide.
Based on the above concerns, ITREALMS Media inc, he said, in commemoration of the International E-waste Day (IeWD) 2020, is hosting a day discourse on e-Waste in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities under its flagship ITREALMS e-Waste Dialogue scheduled for Thursday, December 17, at the Welcome Centre Hotels, International Airport Road, Ikeja, Lagos by 9am.
Nweke further recalled that ITREALMS e-Waste Dialogue was initially scheduled for October 14 but due to COVID-19 lockdown and #EndSARS protest nationwide, it had to be rescheduled to Thursday, December 17, 2020 as part of the Nigeria Internet Waste Dialogue.
According to him, ITREALMS e-Waste Dialogue aligns with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) organized “Internet Waste Dialogue,” in commemoration of IeWD, held annually.
“Thus, our objective is to examine the challenges and opportunities of end-of-life of electrical and electronics equipment that enables connectivity, especially on mobile devices; bringing together various manufacturing and recycling companies, regulatory agencies as well as service providers to elaborate on waste management challenges and opportunities in responsible recycling as data centres, 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) demands soar,” he said.
The full impact and regulation of materials and components critical to the digital economy is difficult to assess as the infrastructure and end-of-life management are less visible. This is true especially to individual consumers that use personal Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices supported by data centres and telecommunication networks.
Hence, raising awareness and exchanging knowledge of this complex waste stream will provoke thought and support the transition to a sustainable society and circular economy as Nigeria joins the globe to look forward to full implementation of 5G networks.
He equally invited industry stakeholders to come and share knowledge on best practices on e-Waste management in the country by examining the challenges and opportunities.
The dialogue, Nweke said, would be held face-to-face in compliance with COVID-19 protocol, even as there are plans to simultaneously host the event virtually.
Some experts from the nation’s telecom industry, including but not limited to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) among others, are gearing up for the event.