The challenge of electronic waste (e-waste) management in developing countries

O. OsibanjoBasel Convention Regional Centre for Africa for Training and Technology Transfer, Department of Chemistry, University of Ibadan,


I.C. NnoromDepartment of Chemistry, Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria

Information and telecommunications technology (ICT) and computer Internet networking has penetrated nearly every aspect of

modern life, and is positively affecting human life even in the most remote areas of the developing countries. The rapid growth

in ICT has led to an improvement in the capacity of computers but simultaneously to a decrease in the products lifetime as

a result of which increasingly large quantities of waste electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste) are generated annually.

ICT development in most developing countries, particularly in Africa, depends more on secondhand or refurbished EEEs most

of which are imported without confirmatory testing for functionality. As a result large quantities of e-waste are presently

being managed in these countries. The challenges facing the developing countries in e-waste management include: an absence

of infrastructure for appropriate waste management, an absence of legislation dealing specifically with e-waste, an absence

of any framework for end-of-life (EoL) product take-back or implementation of extended producer responsibility (EPR). This

study examines these issues as they relate to practices in developing countries with emphasis on the prevailing situation

in Nigeria. Effective management of e-waste in the developing countries demands the implementation of EPR, the establishment

of product reuse through remanufacturing and the introduction of efficient recycling facilities. The implementation of a global

system for the standardization and certification/labelling of secondhand appliances intended for export to developing countries

will be required to control the export of electronic recyclables (e-scarp) in the name of secondhand appliances.