Study of Material Flow of End-of-Life Computer Equipment (e-wastes) in Some Major Cities in Nigeria
The fast growing use of Information and Communication Technology has created a new environmental problem, electronic-waste (e-waste).Addressing this concern requires proper management plans and strategy, which in turn requires reliable estimates of e-waste generation in the present as well as future. In this study, a material flow model for the analysis of e-waste generation from computer equipment in Kaduna and Abuja in Nigeria has been developed and compared with that of Lagos which has been studied earlier. Data used to develop the models are the sales data from major distributors of electronics in the study areas, usage time of computer equipment and transfer coefficients of the electronics from one stage to another. The analysis of individual flows of computer from the material flow model showed that the fate of obsolete computer equipment were storage (27-41%), reuse (35-61%) and direct disposal (12-24%). It was also found that after four years of the last inflow considered, averagely 935,686, 399,769 and 101,142 computer equipment would be in storage in Lagos, Kaduna and Abuja respectively; 998,861, 458,202 and 152, 305 computers respectively would be under reuse and 674,492,247,858 and 76,419 computers respectively would be disposed. A sensitivity analysis for an error of 0.1 in each of the transfer coefficients (TC) used in the model showed a variation of ±10% in e-waste generation. The results also indicated that computer equipment would continue to remain in either storage, re-use or gradually disposed off for 10, 8 and 11 years respectively after its inflow into the consumption phase. This delay or staggering in e-waste disposal would reduce the amount of e-waste disposed yearly and thus afford the country the time to make plans to accommodate and manage the e-wastes generated more efficiently.
Keywords: e-waste, material flow model, computer equipment, sensitivity analysis, transfer coefficient
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