Nigeria Public Health Implications of Ewaste Dumping and Legal Efforts

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Recent studies have shown the gravity of health and environmental hazards created by this issue in Nigeria. The international and national legal infrastructures created to prevent the e-waste menace is made ineffective by a parallel illegal e-waste trafficking network. It is in this context that apart from governments and law mechanisms, public participatory groups need to take up the role of monitors. A new era of public intervention and awareness need to be developed in the developing world to prevent e-waste dumping in their back yards. Similarly, this awareness should be extended to the developed world community in the form of putting a self-disciplined control on indiscriminate consumerism and ‘use and throw’ attitudes.The year was 1987. Unnoticed by the majority of the people in Koko, a suburb of Nigeria, a shipment arrived. The contents of this ship were stored for a while in a backyard. The drums were already damaged and soon started leaking (DiMento, 2003, p.112). Panic spread only when the workers who were packing the 3800 tons of toxic waste for re-transporting them to Italy, suffered burns and paralysis (Velte Elsenpeter, 2008, p.24). When the authorities finally woke up to the seriousness of the issue, a 500 meter radius of land around the dump site was declared unsafe (Velte Elsenpeter, 2008, p.24). Later it came to light that the drums contained toxic and radioactive electronic waste. They were simply labeled as substances relating to the building trade, and had been exported from Italy (Lamb Friends of Earth, 1996, p.148). The government of Italy, after some face saving and evading attempts, agreed to take back the waste (Lamb Friends of Earth, 1996, p.148).The issue of dumping of toxic electronic waste by developed countries indeveloping countries has become a burning issue since then…