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Nigeria to clamp down on e-waste imports: minister

by Staff Writers
Abuja (AFP) Feb 20, 2009
Nigeria on Friday ordered its customs service and security and environmental agencies to clamp down on illegal imports of potentially toxic electronic waste.

"All the security agencies are to work in a coordinated manner to ensure that the incidents of dumping and open-air burning of these electronic items are stopped forthwith," Environment Minister John Odey said in a statement in Abuja.

The minister said the government would also work with the European Union and the United States to ensure stricter control of trans-border trading of e-waste.

Greenpeace, a global environmental group said Wednesday that Nigeria had become a dumping ground for electronic waste such as televisions disguised as second-hand goods from developed countries.

In 2007, an American NGO, Basel Action Network, published a report in which it said that some 500 containers with 400,000 second-hand computers were unloaded every month in Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city with some 15 million people.

Experts say the development is posing health and environmental hazards because of substances contained in them such as lead, cadmium and mercury.

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