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Waste Manag Res. 2007 Dec;25(6):489-501.

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

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

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