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Nigeria Ranks 3rd in Africa with 500m kg of E-Wastes Yearly

Nigeria has been classified as Africa’s third largest eWaste generator, trailing only Egypt and South Africa.

While Nigeria generated 500 million kilogrammes (kg) of eWaste in 2022, Egypt and South Africa produced 690 million kg and 530 million kg, respectively. Algeria was fourth with 330 million kg, followed by Morocco in fifth with 180 million kg.

During the assessment period, Europe (17.6 kg), Oceania (16.1 kg), and America (14.1 kg) generated the most e-waste per capita. African countries created the least but faced recycling issues. The region has a recycling rate of less than 1%.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) fourth Global e-waste Monitor (GEM) released yesterday, which raised concerns about the rise in eWaste globally, noted that the world as of 2022 generated 62 million tonnes of e-waste, which would fill 1.55 million 40-tonne trucks, roughly enough trucks to form a bumper-to-bumper line encircling the equator, whereas less than one quarter (22.3 percent) of the year’s e-waste mass was documented as having been properly collected.

Concerned, the ITU stated in the 148-page study that the rate at which more electronic trash is generated from used computers, mobile phones, and televisions, among other things, is frightening. It was highlighted that the wasted trash from these devices posed a health and environmental risk because they contained poisonous chemicals or hazardous substances such as mercury, which can harm the human brain and coordination systems.

According to the UN, global e-waste creation is increasing by 2.6 million tons per year and is expected to reach 82 million tonnes by 2030, a 33% increase from 2022.

The analysis predicted that the reported collection and recycling rate would fall from 22.3% in 2022 to 20% by 2030 due to the widening gap between recycling efforts and the astounding growth of e-waste output around the world.

According to the UN, factors contributing to the widening gap include technical advancement, increased consumption, restricted repair options, shorter product life cycles, society’s increasing electronification, design flaws, and insufficient eWaste handling infrastructure.

According to ITU, the 62 million tonnes of eWaste generated in 2022 are equivalent to the weight of 107,000 of the world’s largest (853-seat), heaviest (575 tonne) passenger aircraft – enough to form an uninterrupted queue from New York to Athens, Nairobi to Hanoi, or Hong Kong to Anchorage.

It also stated that 14 million tonnes (22.3 percent) of eWaste were thrown, with the majority being landfilled, in 2022.

 

According to the report, the 31 million tonnes anticipated weight of metals contained in eWaste in 2022 included 17 million tonnes of plastics and 14 million tonnes of other materials.

With an estimated eWaste worth of $91 billion, the ITU said that the value of metals incorporated in 2022 eWaste was $19 billion in copper, $15 billion in gold, and $16 billion in iron.

The value of secondary raw materials (mainly iron) recovered through “urban mining” of e-waste in 2022 is predicted to be $28 billion. Also, primary ore extraction avoided by reclaiming materials through documented e-waste recycling was estimated to be 900 million tonnes, while CO2-equivalent emissions avoided by formal e-waste management – recaptured refrigerants (41 million tonnes) and avoided metals mining (52 million tonnes) totaled 93 million tonnes.

The ITU reported that the number of nations with eWaste legislation increased significantly between 2019 and 2023, from 78 to 81.

Of the 81 countries, 67 have a legal mechanism governing e-waste management.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), stated: “Amidst the hopeful embrace of solar panels and electronic equipment to combat the climate crisis and drive digital progress, the surge in e-waste requires urgent attention.”

Cosmas Luckyson Zavazava, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, stated that a significant amount of e-waste is generated globally, ranging from discarded televisions to abandoned handsets. He stated that the most recent data indicates that the worldwide threat faced by e-waste would only expand.

“With less than half of the world implementing and enforcing approaches to manage the problem, this raises the alarm for sound regulations to boost collection and recycling,” she said.

Vanessa Gray, Head of the Environment and Emergency Telecommunications Division at the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, stated, “The Global E-waste Monitor shows that we are currently wasting $91 billion in valuable metals due to insufficient e-waste recycling.” We must capitalize on the economic and environmental benefits of proper e-waste disposal; otherwise, future generations’ digital ambitions will be jeopardized.”

 

 

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