Economic and Health Implications of Electronic Waste OLAWUYI, N.J and AKINFALA MUYIWA

Department of Computer Science, ACE, Ondo


Abstract: Waste of electrical and electronic apparatuses generated in huge amount surround the earth today, and has become a global environmental issue. Electronic waste is a common, informal name for electronic products approaching the end of their useful life. Technological advancement and increased awareness on the importance on the use of electronic gadgets and have caused enormous generation of electronic wastes throughout the world. This has been prominent particularly in developing countries where the importation of used electronic gadgets is on the increase in recent times without proper methods of recycling. E-wastes are considered dangerous, as certain components of some electronic products contain materials that are harmful, depending on their condition and density. The harmful content of these materials pose a threat to human health and environment. Its toxic emissions mixed with soil, air and water causing harmful effects to the entire biota either directly or indirectly, the toxic emissions include cadmium, arsenic, antimony, chromium, lead, mercury, , beryllium and brominated flame retardants, the effects of these recalcitrant metals on the brain, kidney, respiratory tracts and skin of adults and children are of major concern. Electronic development in most developing countries, particularly in Nigeria, 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 the country. The challenges facing Nigeria in e-waste management includes: 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). The aim of this research was to document the extent of the problems associated with inappropriate e-waste recycling practices and disposal. This research provides a concise overview of Ondo city’s current e-waste scenario, namely magnitude of the problem, environmental and health hazards, current disposal, recycling operations, mechanisms to improve the condition for better environment and economy, organizations working on this issue and recommendations for action. The key to success in terms of e-waste management is to properly collect e-waste, recover and recycle material by safe methods, dispose of e-waste by suitable techniques, forbid the transfer of used electronic devices to developing countries, and raise awareness of the impact of e-waste. A questionnaire containing sixteen items and a well-structured interview was used to collect data. The data collected were analysed using simple percentage and t-test. The t-test calculated value of 1.35 is less that the t-test critical value of 2.09 indicating that there is no significant difference on the effects of electronic waste (E-waste) on human health and environment. The analysis showed that most of the users are unaware of the potential negative impact of rapidly increasing use of obsolete gadgets and the economic gain attributable to proper disposal practices. Also, it was discovered that people repair their electrical and electronic equipment to enhance it functioning when developing faults, refurbishers also refurbish electrical and electronic equipment which they purchase or buy at lower costs regarded as no longer useful to the owner, refurbishing it and selling it at a higher cost. Hence, it was recommended that several stakeholders should engage in the management of E-waste to boost economy, also individuals should be enlightened on their roles in ensuring that electronic wastes are properly managed.
keywords: e-waste, disposal, economy, obsolete gadgets, recycling