Forty-one million tonnes of e-waste are currently produced each year globally. In countries with market economies in transition and in developing countries, e-waste is mainly generated from electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) that has ceased to function. However, industrialized countries generate part of their e-waste from functional equipment that consumers replace with a newer version. While functional used EEE has a limited market in industrialized countries, it still can be exported and sold for considerable prices in developing countries and in countries with market economies in transition.
Nigeria is one of the main West African countries that imports used EEE. In an effort to improve understanding of the quantity, quality and drivers of Nigeria’a EEE imports, and help prevent illegal exports of non-functional EEE, a new collaboration between the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Basel Convention Coordination Centre for Africa in Nigeria (all members of the UNU-IAS Solving the E-waste Problem (Step) Initiative) and Electronic Recyclers International, will gather information and reliable data on the import of used EEE and e-waste into Nigeria.
The “Person-in-the-Port” project will station an expert in the harbour of Lagos for approximately six months starting in January 2015 to collect qualitative and quantitative information on imports of used EEE and to evaluate this with the other project partners. The project will focus on identifying the types and amounts of e-waste/used EEE imported, its functional status, how it is packaged, labelled and transported, its origin (exporting countries), and what will become of it once it arrives in Nigeria.
The information collected will provide an opportunity to understand the scope of the problem in Nigeria, how imports are characterized (in terms of what is stated in the shipping document versus what is really in the containers), the economic drivers influencing used EEE imports and the prevalence of illegal practices.
For more information, see the project brochure in the Related Files tab.