Towards Proper Disposal of Electronic Devices in Nigeria

Towards Proper Disposal of Electronic Devices in Nigeria

I spoke with my mom this afternoon. I told her I was bringing my TV to her home – to dump. The television all of a sudden developed a malfunction – the screen display colour suddenly went berserk and turned ghostly. The two technicians I consulted told me I should keep at least 40k for the repair – and they are not sure they will find the parts to fix it. Anyway, I decided I will dump it and start saving for another one. So, I called the only dumping ground I’m comfortable with – my mother’s home.

For the first time ever, my mother said ‘no’. She reminded me that all of us have taken up much space in her house to dump broken gadgets and electronics. Worst is that she has no means of disposing of them. And right now, I’m talking of bringing a ‘big’ television to join the collections. Anyway, she said I should find a way to dispose of it myself.

But where do I go? Honestly, we have problems with the way we dispose of electronics and gadgets in this country. And to crown it all, we are bringing in a lot of second-hand electronics (did I tell you my own television was ‘Belgium’?). Even some of the ‘new ones’ in our market are substandard; though they may last longer than the fairly used ones.

Some people may wonder how Nigerians have been disposing of their spoilt-beyond-repair electronics. Well, that’s easy to find out.

WAYS NIGERIANS DISPOSE THEIR BROKEN ELECTRONICS

There is nothing new that I will say here, but we need to be reminded of what our problems are. Some of the ways we Nigerians do away with old electronics that can never be repaired include:

Abandoning Them in Repairers’ Shops: This is the commonest method used here. In fact that’s the method I am considering right now. Honestly, these technicians have suffered in the hands of people. Someone that knows he is not ready to pay the amount mentioned for repairing his electronic device will still leave it with the technician and disappear. See, if you want to know the shop of a technician (and a good one), just look for shops filled with old televisions, fans, stabilizers and co.

But these technicians have their own problems. When they know that they can’t repair something, they will ask the customer to bring it hoping to siphon some money from him. Well, when the customer abandons the device, they will have extra loads to bear.

I hope we understand that abandoning these devices in the repair shops hasn’t solved our problems. This is because these people will still dispose of them wrongly and that action will affect us in the long run.

Dumping in Waterways and Bushes: This is the next alternative people have for dumping their old electronics if the repairer’s shop strategy didn’t work. Even repairers dump the ones abandoned in their shops in places like this. I once saw someone’s farm used as a dumping site for old television casings and couldn’t help wondering if the act was done out of malice. I know that this problem is already being battled by the government and concerned individuals but more efforts need to be made.

Using the Dumpsters: Let me be honest, the only television parts I see beside dumpsters are empty casings (without screens). But I know that spoilt gadgets such as flashlights, and small electronics like small radios, are thrown there. But my worries are, do the sanitation workers that empty these dumpsters sort these wastes? If they don’t, it means that they still dump these devices in the same place with other refuse. But, do we even have different dump sites for this kind of waste?

Well, this article is just a simple call to the right individuals and authorities to look into the matter of providing a good and safe place for the disposal of electronic devices, gadgets and other devices such as batteries. Some of these devices contain toxic materials that shouldn’t come in contact with human, animal and plant food. Yet we throw them into our waterways and litter the environment with them.

Another thing that needs serious attention is the quality of electronics brought into the market. It is quite wrong that we allowed substandard goods to fill our markets because our economy is bad. Let the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) buckle up in ensuring that Nigerians obtain maximum satisfaction for the money they spend.

Our cities may boast of maintaining good sanitary condition (in some areas) but our rural areas still practice the old method of using the bush and the ‘gutter’ as refuse sites. Waste management authorities need to see these.

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