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EFFECTS OF ELECTRONIC WASTE ON GROUND WATER
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Colloquially, electronic waste is considered ‘anything with a plug,’ including but not limited to, personal computers, laptops, refrigerators, and cell phones. Electronic waste is a relativity new waste stream; refrigerators were not mass produced until the 1950s and computers have only been affordable for the past 15 years. The spectrum of electronic waste management practices spans from open burning (a common technique in China) to automated recycling (an expensive alternative explored in Germany).
Africa has been identified as a dumping ground for toxic chemical and electronic waste from developed countries with as much as 80% of world’s high-tech trash ending up in Asia and Africa, with an estimated 65% and 35% getting into China and Nigeria, respectively (Uduma, 2007). The global market of electronic and electrical equipment over the past two decades has continued to expand exponentially with the life span of these products becoming shorter and shorter thus posing a new challenge to business and waste management officials (Bhutta et al., 2001; Hilty et al., 2004; Hilty, 2005) and indeed the soil and other environments. Electronic waste (sometimes called e-waste, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) or e-scrap has been defined as ‘an unwanted electronic or electrical appliance that have been discarded by their original users such as old and outdated computers, laptops, televisions, cellular phones, mp3 players, telecommunications equipment, keyboards, mouse, photocopiers typewriters among others (PPCC, 2006; Ogbomo et al., 2012). Majority of the e-waste contain items that could be recovered and utilized for new products even though electronic equipment contains hazardous material capable of affecting human health and the environment if not properly managed (PPCC, 2006; Ogbomo et al., 2012). With the increasing quest for information Communication (ICT) for provision of information Technology (IT) and networking service in addition to the ever increasing demand for electronic gadgets in Nigeria, there is the need to put mechanisms in place to harness and manage properly these material which when obsolete and unserviceable will add to the pool of e-waste in the country. It is against this background that this paper will examine the challenges of e-waste in Nigeria in relation to health issues and soil environments in Nigeria.
The splurge of technology in the last two decades results in e-mail, e-business & e-commerce. The most modern expression to gain the ‘e’ prefix has a more questioning separation – waste. Electronic & Electrical Waste which is universally called as ‘e-waste’ is the latest consequence of the technology driven society. In this part it does not considered scrap electronic mails, but actual presence of electronic parts i.e. which is tangible, touchable which is a either part of electronic and electrical products or whole systems in itself.
Our generation has experienced and gone through the transformation of variety of electronic products and their range. We have so much dependent on these electronic products and which leads to a new environmental challenge electronic and electrical waste nothing but ‘e-waste’. “Part of it broad and emergent array of e devices like day to day family or domestic products such as fridge, coolers, cell phones audio systems, user electronics and computers related systems.
Electronic and electrical waste is dangerous, and it is multiplied at alarming rate as users are discarding it at exponential rate. Part of it over thousands different materials, which are not only fatal but creates dangerous pollution once discarded improperly. These toxic materials include Plastics Mercury, Lead, Bromides, and other hazardous oxides etc.”
A different explanation for E-waste is the outcome of the process when different communities throw away or handover their electronic or electrical appliances for recycling or get rid of it.
E-waste includes Television sets, Personal gazettes, Music Systems, CD Players, VCRs, shooting or photographic devices, communication devices, photocopiers, Fax machines and Mobiles, audio frequency equipment’s, Video Games and other household electronic equipment’s.
Good number common types fall under this kind of waste are cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and Personal computers. What really matters in differentiating these waste into any other solid waste are its toxicity, variety and complexity in actual components.
All these categories of waste include a very high and low value of dangerous and poisonous materials like Cadmium, lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg) & higher percentage of Plastic products. In additional to above one more common part plays vital role in e-waste which is printed circuit boards (PCBs) it contain lead (pb) and bromine flame retardants (BFRs). The above materials are not only carcinogenic to human life but dangerous to environment as well.
In today’s globalized village concept these items are convincingly tagged, and their numbers are exponentially multiplying day by day as larger part of the developed society can afford it. As electronics are available at affordable prices, so the replacement rate has also increased, with the speed of technological innovation and development they offer tremendous functions, in lesser sizes and attractive aesthetics.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
First, e-waste can have a damaging effect on the soil. As e-waste breaks down, it releases toxic heavy metals. Such heavy metals include lead, arsenic, and cadmium. When these toxins leach into the soil, they influence the plants and trees that are crowing from this soil. Thus, these toxins can enter the human food supply, which can lead to birth defects as well as a number of other health complications.
E-waste that is improperly disposed of by residents or businesses also leads to toxins entering groundwater. This groundwater is what underlies many surface streams, ponds, and lakes. Many animals rely on these channels of water for nourishment. Thus, these toxins can make these animals sick and cause imbalances in the planetary ecosystem. E-waste can also impact humans that rely on this water. Toxins like lead, barium, mercury, and lithium are also considered carcinogenic.
E-waste is not only a developed countries problem but also a concern area for developing and under developed world. E-waste problem can only be tackle by knowing it thoroughly, educating users about their ignorance attitude towards electronic garbage, by taking proper steps and by joining global hands to reduce its repercussions.
1.3 Objective of the study
The study’s main objective is to find out the effect of electronic waste o ground water. Other specific objectives are:
- To find out the relationship between electronic waste and ground water.
- To find out the effect of electronic waste on ground water
- To discover the control measure in reducing the effect of electronic waste on ground water.
1.4 Research question
- What is the relationship between electronic waste and ground water?
- What are the effect of electronic waste on ground water?
- What control measure are in place in reducing the effect of electronic waste on ground water?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
- H0: There is no relationship between electronic waste and ground water
- H0: There is no effect of electronic waste on ground water?
- H0: There is no control measure in place in reducing the effect of electronic waste on ground water?
1.6 Study Aim
The aim of this study is to study the effect of electronic waste to the ground water.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The amplification of e-waste problem as it is prominent leader especially after the boom in Information and Communication Technology. But now it is the demand of an hour to establish a proper waste disposal and management system which can if not reduce but to control this ever growing problem.
Nigeria lacks special, separate and appropriate disposal system and due to this, the statistical data is also not properly managed and made available to public or researcher which leads to improper environmental problems and creation of vicious circle out of it.
Normal trend is to replace new product with the older one with some discount factor and it pushes to increase in unnecessary electronic demand. In the Business sectors where the electronic items are either exchanged or replaced on bulk basis, the same is handed over to second hand sellers. The percentage is almost near to 80.
Other than business sector, sectors like academician or educational or instructive or Non-governmental organizations also rely on such outdated systems. As per projecting the approximate quantity of outdated small computers spread out annually through personal and commercial activities will be around 1.30 million
1.8 Limitations of Study
The study was faced with some obstructions and setbacks, some of which are:
Financial: The finances needed to accomplish the research were limited owing to the Pandemic and lockdown, this affected cashflow ion the financial system.
Communication gap: Because of the same factor of the lockdown with regards to the pandemic, the researcher was hindered physical interviews and proper data collections. This affected the easy assessment and analysis of the data available.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Electronic: An electrical gadget or appliance having or operating with the aid of many small components, especially microchips and transistors, that control and direct an electric current.
Waste: Disposed off, No longer in use.
Ground water: Water retained in the soil of an environment
The project work is broken down into chapters, sections and sub-sections. Generally, there are five chapters in this research work