Bauchi State Government said it had embarked on the registration of scavengers in Bauchi metropolis who would gather electronic waste (e-waste) materials for a fee, as part of measures to protect lives and the environment.
State Commissioner for Environment, Dr Audu Ghani, told journalists on Tuesday in Bauchi that already, about 1,000 e-waste scavengers had been registered and licensed.
He identified e-waste as comprising of unserviceable radios, refrigerators, air conditioners, batteries and anything that made use of the electricity to function.
“Because of the fast growing technology, you will discover that most of the older electronic gadgets have become obsolete and therefore, have become e-wastes.
“You find them not necessarily in the dustbins, but within our residential apartments, occupying a large space and we feel they are still relevant.
“Some people keep such obsolete items just to remind them of the good old days, like artifacts in museum that bring nostalgic feelings of the past,” he said.
According to him, the decision to engage e-waste scavengers is aimed at discouraging the handling of e-waste products by all and sundry because of the hazards involved.
“We have over 10,000 registered scavengers within Bauchi metropolis who gather such wastes, bring them to the ministry, and are being paid depending on the size of the waste.
“We have an existing plan that takes care of these things and have registered scavengers that have been given license to gather the e-waste.
“We try as much as possible to ensure that when they are gathered, especially used batteries and others, we sort them out and dispose them in the most appropriate way that will not harm people or the environment. “We need specialised and trained personnel in the management of such waste so we do not encourage the public to dispose them because some contain poisonous substances that, if not properly disposed, can cause havoc to people and the environment,” he said.
Ghani said that the state government was making efforts to establish a centre where it could gather some of the useful e-wastes for recycling for the benefit of the people.
“We are making frantic efforts to make sure e-waste materials are being identified, gathered and measures taken to recycle those that are recyclable,” he added.
He said a special department in his ministry had been created to handle the gathering of the wastes and sort out the ones that could be recycled to get rid of them from the environment.
He cautioned member of public on the handling of such waste as some could be harmful to human lives.
“These are special waste and not like any other ordinary waste that you can just dump anyhow and anywhere,”
“We advise that such wastes be released to scavengers, who will take same to the ministry, where they will be disposed of in the proper way,” he advised.