Abuja — Amid threats posed by electronic wastes (E-waste), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has begun moves to fashion out regulatory guidelines for the management of E-waste in the nation's telecommunications industry.
The guideline, which is industry specific, will key into other initiatives at national and international levels.Speaking at the public enquiry on e-waste Regulations and Disaster Recovery Guidelines yesterday in Abuja, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umar Danbatta said that the commission cannot ignore the threats that e-waste pose to the environment and the health of Nigerians adding the country must find ways to curb the menace.
Danbatta noted that about 75 per cent of electronics imported into Nigeria are not repairable, contain toxic, obsolete. Some of the toxic elements found in e-waste include lead, mercury, lithium and other ozone depleting substances.He observed that e-wastes are not degradable and contributes 30 million tonnes of waste every year and will keep increasing stressing that there are scientifically proven methods of degrading e-waste.
He explained that in line with its regulatory mandate and to keep pace with efforts at managing e-waste related issues, the commission has developed a draft guideline which represents a holistic intervention aimed at providing charity and delimiting the responsibilities of various stakeholders in the e-waste value chain within the telecommunications industry.
Lamenting that Nigeria is becoming a dumping ground for e-waste, Danbatta disclosed that every telecom device in the country is supposed to have been type-approved by the NCC or at least a sample of the brand type approved by the NCC prior to importation.He regretted that most telecom devices like handsets are imported to this country without recourse a type-approval certificate by the NCC and warned that the commission will go after those who imports or sells nontype- approved devices and bring them to book.
He said, " So let this be a warning to those people in our mist selling electronic devices for use in telecommunication industry without type approval to know that it is an action that is contrary to the provision of the law and the NCC will take actions to ensure that such people will be brought before the law to answer for those breaches of the law.
" E-waste pollutes the environment, the food we eat collects substances from these wastes. We need to protect our people from pollutions that are natural and those that are man-made"."NCC and other agencies of the government owe the duty to the citizens of this country to ensure that these irreparable products do not find space in this country. We shouldn't accept them, we should do everything top ensure that they are not dumped in our countries because of the danger inherent touching irreparable devices", he added.
On Disaster recovery guidelines, Danbatta said that NCC is issuing proactive containment measures that will mitigate disasters likely to affect business, adding that these are aimed at protecting telecom companies from the treats of emergencies in their operations.
Giving an overview of the draft regulation, the Director Legal and Regulatory Services in the commission, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye explained that the draft guidelines is a regulatory framework for the control and management of e-waste adding that the regulations apply to all type-approved electrical and electronics equipment while activities carried out by any person must be in accordance to the standards set out by the commission.
She noted that under the regulation, every player in the value chain must obtain authorization from the commission while manufacturers that operate without obtaining an extended producer responsibility authorisation from the commission would pay a fine of N500. 000 per day,