The annual conference of the Science Association of Nigeria, (SAN) held recently at the Bero Hall in Alausa Ikeja.

You would be wondering what this organization is about.

They are a large group of scientists, who have for 60 years tried to support scientific and technological development in Nigeria.

And the theme for the 2018 event was Science and Technology In An Emerging Smart City And Sustainable Developments.

If you have been following the smart city drive of Lagos state, you will know that matters like modern transportation, power and waste management are always on the front burner.

So, it is no surprise that waste management came to the fore again. But then, how much of science and technology is waste management?

The CEO of E-Terra Technologies, Ifeanyi Ochonogor, explained this while clamoring for proper waste recycling management as a way of re-positioning Lagos to meet its proposed smart city status.

As one of the keynote speakers at the conference, he explained that technology devices like computers, printers, mobile phones and more have significantly transformed the way humans live and do business.

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But as these devices reach their end or become obsolete or unwanted due to advancement in technology and changes in consumer behavior, they become e-waste – electronic waste.

E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life" and at this point, two major needs emerge – eco-friendly disposal and data security.

The bigger problem, however, is that most businesses and government institutions are loose, thereby making them very vulnerable to privacy and intellectual property theft.

“Disposal of unwanted I.T assets are still executed majorly through auction with little interest on where these assets end up, including the negative impacts associated with unprofessional e-waste handling on man and the environment,” he said.

If you’re not worried yet, check out the following facts.

UNEP has linked the alarming rate of cancer, kidney and liver diseases in Nigeria to environmental pollution mainly due to industrialization and the improper handling and disposal of electronic waste.

It has also been found that about 200,000 cancer cases are being diagnosed every year in Nigeria, while 10,000 people die annually at the rate of 10 people every hour.

Alarming, right? What, then, is the way forward?

Ochonogor warned that destruction of e-waste and disposing them properly is indispensable, particularly in a state like Lagos that is by each passing day fast evolving to a smart city.

His recommendations centered on the need for a more proactive approach by the government as well as an attitudinal change by citizens, especially business owners.

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The global tracking of cyber-attacks indicate that Nigeria is among countries with the highest cases of software piracy, identity & intellectual property theft and malware attacks.

He also warned that when not properly disposed, it increases the chances of financial crimes.

So, it is only common sense that Lagosians and indeed Nigerians embrace proper destruction and disposal of electronic waste.

As for the proposed smart city, it is not negotiable right now.

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